Published: 31st July 2020
NEP's three-language policy: Will you really have a choice beyond Hindi?
The NEP says that the students can choose any of the native Indian languages. If a student is studying in Tamil Nadu, chances are, they won't be able to find Telugu or Malayalam teachers
Almost all the regional parties in Tamil Nadu have always opposed the three language policy, even when all the other states accepted Hindi as a third language. In Tamil Nadu, we study two languages - mostly Tamil and English.
There is the usual misinterpretation about Dravidian politics that Tamils hate Hindi and don't allow people to study Hindi. But that is not true. I went to a Tamil Nadu state board school where I chose Hindi as my second language from the sixth standard. In class XI and XII, I chose French. In my case, I learnt three languages out of choice.
But at the same time, imposing three languages at the same time will be a huge burden for a student. I don't think students will be able to manage it well. Also, here's why students may be forced to learn Hindi. The NEP says that the students can choose any of the native Indian languages. If a student is studying in Chennai or in any other parts of Tamil Nadu, chances are, they won't be able to find Telugu or Malayalam teachers. Similarly, there won't be Tamil teachers in all Kerala schools. However, all of these schools will have Hindi teachers who've studied BA or MA or a course by the Hindi prachaar sabha. Hence, the students won't have any other option apart from learning Hindi or Sanskrit, which will now be made available in all schools.
This will be similar to choosing engineering electives, where there will be a large number of options on paper, but the college eventually decides what you must choose. There will be only 2 options in the end. Only elite institutes can employ teachers who teach other native Indian languages. But a child in a government school will end up studying Hindi or Sanskrit, even if they don't want to.
I also have an issue with making English an option. I have studied Civil Engineering and I work with an MNC now. My English education is the reason for me to get this job. English education is essential since the beginning. Giving emphasis to the Indian languages is a good thing, so is education in one's mother tongue. But to connect with more people and to be employed, English is a necessity. Otherwise, it all seems like propaganda.
(As told to Parvathi Benu)
(The opinions are of the author's)