New Delhi: Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday refuted reports of Hindi being made mandatory till class 8 across the country. Terming as false the purported draft on New Education Policy, Javadekar said, “There’s no provision of making any language compulsory in National Education Policy draft. The news in the media is wrong.”

Earlier today, reports surfaced that a draft has been prepared by a nine-member K Kasturirangan committee on the New Education Policy (NEP) which stated that Hindi be made mandatory till Class 8 across the country in a bid to implement an “India-centric” and “scientific” system of learning in schools. Currently, Hindi isn’t compulsory at schools in many non-Hindi-speaking states, such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, West Bengal and Assam.

As per a report in The Indian Express, the key recommendations in the draft prepared said, “Adhere strictly to the three-language formula with Hindi mandatory till Class 8 across the country, ensure a uniform syllabus nationwide for Science and Maths, develop a script in Devanagari for tribal dialects, and promote education based on hunar (skill)”.

According to some committee members, the draft report was handed over to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) last year in December before its tenure came to an end. “We have sought a meeting with the HRD Minister to hand over the report formally,” a member of the committee said anonymously.

Reportedly, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “The committee’s report is ready and the members have sought an appointment. I will get the report after the Parliament session.”

Sources said the government is yet to decide the next step for the policy, including placing it in the public domain for further suggestions and feedback.

“While subjects under Social Sciences need local content, there is no logic for a varied syllabus for Science and Mathematics in different state boards up to Class 12. Science and Mathematics may be taught in any language, but the syllabus should be the same in all states,” sources said. As per reports, the NEP has also advocated for developing a syllabus for up to Class 5 in local languages, such as Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Maithili, etc., in areas where they are spoken.

“Also, there are several tribal dialects that either has no script or are written in the Roman script due to the influence of missionaries. The NEP says that Devanagari will be developed as a script for these dialects. It says that we need an India-centric education system,” said sources.

The other recommendations reportedly made by the committee are:

  • Permanent high-power committee on education, headed by Prime Minister, to meet at regular intervals.
  • Regulatory mechanism to be strengthened and headed by non-bureaucrats.
  • Technical and professional courses to be promoted among SC/ST students.

According to sources, the draft NEP was prepared after “marathon discussions” on August 16, 2018. The committee is learnt to have incorporated suggestions received from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Besides, sources said, the panel held a meeting with Javadekar and representatives of seven states.

NEP was last brought in 1986 and revised in 1992. Based on the NEP, the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) was released in 2005 and expected to be revised after 10 years. However, the NDA government decided to finalise the NEP instead.