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Topic : Importance of Mother Tongue in Early Education

GS-2 Mains : Education

Revision Notes


  • The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has instructed all its schools to use educational materials focused on learning in a student’s mother tongue and promote multilingual education.

Constitutional Provisions/Laws

  • Article 350A of the Constitution mandates the government to strive for education in the mother tongue for children from linguistic minority groups.
  • Article 29(1) states that any section of citizens with a distinct language, script, or culture has the right to conserve it.
  • Section 29(f) of the Right to Education Act, 2009, emphasizes that the “medium of instructions shall, as far as practicable, be in the child’s mother tongue.”

Importance of Mother Tongue in Child Development

  • Early education in the mother tongue can be crucial for learning new languages, fostering understanding, confidence, and a love for learning.
  • It enables a deeper grasp of concepts, encourages critical thinking, and strengthens cultural connections.
  • India’s vast linguistic diversity, with hundreds of languages spoken, necessitates mother tongue education for children to preserve their cultural heritage for future generations.
  • Language plays a significant role in social integration. Children educated in their mother tongue can communicate better within their communities and strengthen social bonds.

Steps Taken by the Government

  • The Jharkhand government and UNICEF launched a pilot program for multilingual education in 259 schools.
    • It involved developing resources and content in Ho, Mundari, Kharia, Santali, and Kurukh languages spoken by tribal communities.
  • Odisha’s government, with UNICEF, created ‘Nua Arunima’ (New Horizons), a mother tongue-based early childhood education curriculum available in 21 languages.
  • The National Education Policy 2020 focuses on multilingualism and using familiar languages for learning until at least Grade 5, preferably till Grade 8 and beyond.
    • The policy recommends preparing textbooks and reading materials in home languages and asks teachers to use them for classroom communication.
  • The NIPUN Bharat Mission guidelines suggest conducting the teaching-learning process and developing materials in the mother tongue.

Way Ahead

  • A multilingual educational approach in India, using familiar languages as a foundation, could lead to positive outcomes.
  • Effective implementation requires sustained efforts from diverse stakeholders.
  • Empowering teachers through multilingual training, developing engaging mother-tongue learning materials, and supporting local communities in advocating for their languages are crucial steps.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/focus-on-teaching-children-in-their-mother-tongue-from-the-early-stages-cbse/article68149776.ece#:~:text=The%20CBSE%20circular%20dated%20May,or%20regional%20and%20lo

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