'3 languages not needed in schools' - The New Indian Express

'3 languages not needed in schools'

Published: 14th September 2013 07:43 AM

Last Updated: 14th September 2013 07:43 AM

“The three-language formula followed in schools is taking the focus away from life sciences that are more important for students. Why should children learn three languages during school hours? Ideally, we could teach them only the mother tongue till Class 5.”

This was the stand of H S Ramarao, director, Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT), the academic wing of the Department of Public Instruction. He made the remarks while making a presentation on ‘School as Centre of Excellence’ at the two-day education conference, Adhyapan 2013, organised by Shruth and Smith Foundation on Friday.

“We are spending almost 16 hours of school time a week on three languages, whereas mathematics and sciences get only about 6-8 hours. Schoolchildren are asking us why we are using their school time for this,” Ramarao said. “If need be, languages can be learnt in a short span of time. Don’t we learn French in three months before heading to France?” he asked.

Ramarao’s stand on the three-language formula comes at a time when a Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court is deciding on whether State governments can impose the mother tongue or a regional language as the only medium of instruction in primary schools.

His statement came in for severe criticism from members of the audience, who stressed that languages are important to inculcate culture and values in schoolchildren, besides helping them academically. “My daughter secured distinction in all three languages in the SSLC exam this year. It helped her secure more than 80 marks in mathematics, science and social science,” a Hindi teacher told Ramarao.

Ramarao justified his stand by saying that he never opposed learning languages. “I did not mean to say that other languages, State or national, are not required. I have only questioned the need to teach these languages during school hours at the cost of other core subjects.”

‘Functional model required’

During his presentation, Ramarao also said that the State lacked a functional model for Bahumukhi, the multi-grade multi-level teaching methodology. “We are looking for a model that can be implemented in classrooms in Gulbarga, Jewargi, Chamarajanagar and such other places. A 1:1 model of teaching is too utopian for us, so we have to help our teachers be able to teach more levels of classes,” he said, and invited teacher education organisations to come up with suitable models.

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