New Delhi: Amid raging controversy over the draft national education policy, which favours making the teaching of Hindi compulsory up to class 8, the government today revised the National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 draft by making the Hindi language ‘optional’.

The government is believed to have tweaked the draft and made ‘learning Hindi’ in non-Hindi speaking states an option and has further removed references to the Hindi language in many places.

According to a NDTV report, the revised draft reads, “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages…,”

Eminent singer AR Rahman was among the first to tweet lauding this step from the Centre:

The Kasturirangan Committee had recommended the teaching of Hindi, English and one regional language in the non-Hindi states; and Hindi, English and one modern Indian language from other parts of the country in Hindi-speaking states.

Hours after reports emerged that the government will be making Hindi compulsory for students till Class 8 nationwide in the upcoming education policy, leaders from non-Hindi speaking states decried the draft. Following the announcement of the recommendation, widespread protests started to take over parts of south India.

But earlier, the central government said it had not taken a decision on the draft education policy and had no intentions to impose any language.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, on Sunday also reiterated the government’s stand that it respected all languages and no language would be “imposed”.

“The national education policy as submitted to the HRD Minister is only a draft report. Feedback shall be obtained from general public. State governments will be consulted. Only after that the draft report will be finalised. The government of India respects all languages. No language will be imposed,” he said in a tweet.