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Indian Polity

Three Language Formula

  • 07 Jun 2019
  • 4 min read

The draft National Education Policy, 2019, prepared by a committee headed by scientist Dr Kasturirangan has recommended the three-language formula.

  • The draft education policy recommends the use of three language formula from the primary level.

Three-language formula

  • First language: It will be the mother tongue or regional language.
  • Second language: In Hindi speaking states, it will be other modern Indian languages or English. In non-Hindi speaking states, it will be Hindi or English.
  • Third Language: In Hindi speaking states, it will be English or a modern Indian language. In the non-Hindi speaking state, it will be English or a modern Indian language.

Need for three-language formula

  • The committee’s report observes that learning languages are an important part of a child’s cognitive development.
  • The primary aim is to promote multilingualism and national harmony.

Issue in implementation

  • The states like Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Tripura were not ready to teach Hindi and Hindi-speaking states did not include any south Indian language in their school curriculum.
  • State governments often do not have adequate resources to implement the three –language formula.
    • The inadequacy of resources is perhaps the most important aspect of the challenge.

Constitutional provision

  • Article 29 of the Constitution of India protects the interests of minorities. The Article states that any section of the citizens who have a “…distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.”
  • Article 343 is about the official language of the Union of India. According to this Article, it is to be Hindi in Devnagri script, and numerals should follow the international form of Indian numerals. This Article also states that English will continue to be used as an official language for 15 years from the commencement of the Constitution.
  • Article 346 is about the official language for communication between the states and between a state and the Union. The Article states that the “authorised” language will be used. However, if two or more states agree that their communications shall be in Hindi, then Hindi may be used.
  • Article 347 gives the President the power to recognise a language as an official language of a given state, provided that the President is satisfied that a substantial proportion of that state desires that the language be recognised. Such recognition can be for a part of the state or the whole state.
  • Article 350A facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at the primary stage.
  • Article 350B provides for the establishment of a Special Officer for linguistic minorities. The Officer shall be appointed by the President and shall investigate all matters relating to the safeguards for linguistic minorities, reporting directly to the President. The President may then place the reports before each house of the Parliament or send them to the governments of the states concerned.
  • Article 351 gives power to the union government to issue a directive for development of the Hindi language.
  • Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India contains a list of 22 languages recognised schedule languages.
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