The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued a directive to its affiliated schools, urging them to consider Indian languages as optional mediums of instruction to promote multilingual education. In line with the National Education Policy, 2020, which aims to introduce education in multiple languages, this move seeks to enhance the accessibility and inclusivity of education across the country.
CBSE’s Director (Academic), Joseph Emmanuel, emphasized the importance of this initiative, suggesting that Indian languages listed in Schedule 8 of the Indian Constitution could be used as mediums of instruction from the foundational stage up to the end of secondary education (from pre-primary classes to class 12), in addition to the existing options.
The implementation of multilingual education presents certain challenges, including the availability of skilled teachers proficient in teaching subjects in multiple languages, the creation of high-quality multilingual textbooks, and time limitations, particularly in two-shift government schools. In response to these challenges, the CBSE highlighted the need for schools to collaborate and pool available resources to effectively implement multilingual education.
To facilitate this transition, the Ministry of Education has directed the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to prepare new textbooks in 22 scheduled Indian languages on a priority basis. This significant step will ensure that students have access to quality educational materials in their mother tongue or other Indian languages, promoting a deeper connection between students and their native languages.
Acknowledging the efforts made by higher education authorities, the CBSE applauded their efforts to provide education in multiple languages and conduct exams in different languages. Moreover, technical, medical, vocational, skill, and law education textbooks are also being made available in Indian languages. With higher education institutions already adapting to this need, the CBSE believes that schools must become the foundation of multilingual education.
The CBSE’s encouragement of Indian languages as mediums of instruction aligns with the broader vision of the National Education Policy to ensure equitable and inclusive education for all. By integrating Indian languages into the education system, the CBSE aims to foster a stronger connection between students and their cultural heritage, thereby enriching their learning experience.
The CBSE’s directive is seen as a significant step towards transforming the educational landscape in India, making quality education more accessible to diverse linguistic communities. As the NCERT prioritizes the availability of textbooks in various Indian languages, students across the nation can look forward to a more inclusive and enriching learning environment that celebrates linguistic diversity and empowers students to thrive in their educational journey.