Centre urges states to teach in mother tongue

HRD Ministry suggests age-appropriate curricula and syllabi for students

The Centre has advised state governments to teach students in elementary schools in their mother tongue to help them grasp subjects easily.

Children’s “home” language is often different from the “standard” language used in the textbooks which imposes enormous learning burden on them, and is perhaps one of the chief reasons of low achievement in school subjects, the Human Resource Development Ministry noted in its advisory issued recently.

The difference between the “home” language and “textbook” language not only affects the language learning in school, but also subjects like mathematics and environment studies.

“Thus, efforts to incorporate well known methods of bridging between the child’s ‘home’ language with the ‘standard’ classroom language need to be given utmost attention,” the Ministry said. The Right to Education Act also states that the mother tongue should be used in teaching “as far as practicable.”

Asking the states to bring curricular reforms in the implementation of the RTE Act, the Ministry suggested them to formulate “age-appropriate” curricula and syllabi for elementary classes in keeping with National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005.

Curricula and syllabi should be prepared from class I upwards, based on what is age-appropriate for children, rather than by first fixing the curricula and syllabi for higher classes and working downwards.

“Educational research regarding the inter-relationship about age and concept needs to be kept in mind while formulating the curriculum,” the HRD ministry underlined.

While developing the curriculum and syllabus, it will also be important to “rationalise” the number of subjects and textbooks at the primary and upper primary levels to ensure that there is no additional curriculum load on children.

“States, which follow the seven-year elementary education cycle, tend to introduce subjects of history, geography, science and social studies in Class-V instead of Class VI.
This adds to the curricular load on children,” the ministry noted.

In transiting to an eight-year elementary education cycle, such states should review the subjects and textbooks currently taught in class-V and VIII to rationalise them according to the respective needs of the primary and upper primary stages, it suggested.

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