DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand government has decided to make Sanskrit language compulsory in all government and private schools from Classes 3 to 8.
Arvind Pandey, state education minister said, "Sanskrit is our ancient and language of Gods. We must acknowledge that this language has enriched our culture beyond measure. Our generation should know the language."
The state education department has been instructed by the education minister to implement the decision strictly in all the schools operating in the state.
The officials of the state education department told that guidelines will be in place soon to implement the curriculum of Sanskrit. "The guidelines will also include penal measures in case private schools affiliated with several boards such as ICSE and others refuse to implement Sanskrit curriculum, " said R Meenakshi Sundaram, secretary education, Uttarakhand.
Four major languages are spoken in Uttarakhand at present including Hindi, Kumaoni, Garhwali and Jaunsari. According to estimates, over 89% of the populace of the state speaks these four languages including Hindi (45%) followed by Garhwali (23.03%), Kumaoni (19.94%) and Jaunsari (1.35%).
Many other languages are also spoken in the hill state including Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Nepali, Maithili, Tharu, Jan, Rangpo, Darmiya, Byangsi, Raji, Chaudangsi and Rawat to name a few.
Interestingly, main regional languages Kumaon and Garhwali have been accorded the status of endangered languages by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Shekhar Pathak, a Padam Shri awardee historian commenting on the development said, "The propagation of our culture including languages is important but regional languages should also be promoted with the same zeal as our national languages. Ours is a diverse country with multiple languages, tradition, culture and cuisine. We should be careful to impose any sort of monoculture."
An official from a school of international repute based in Dehradun told this publication on the condition of anonymity, "We will implement the government directives but our policymakers should think seriously before making such unilateral decisions. Analysis should be done by the educationists and state government about the motive and outcome of such a curriculum."