According to the scheme, there will be arrangements for Hindi teachers in the Northeastern states and students from Class I to XII in other non-Hindi speaking states. Similarly, the states will have provisions to appoint Urdu teachers as per their requirement. The scheme further states that in order to improve the teaching-learning process, bilingual books and learning materials need to be provided, teachers also need to undergo continuous professional development (CPD).
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Although the scheme has existed for some time, it was integrated with the entire education campaign from the current academic year 2021-22, a source in the Ministry of Education said. “Over the next five years, states may send their proposals to introduce regional language training in schools at the beginning of the academic session. At the annual action plan meeting, these proposals will be considered and an internal approval will be given, ”the source added. This year, proposals to introduce Hindi as a language course in schools were received from Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, while proposals to introduce Urdu from Karnataka were received, the source said.
Once approved, states must appoint language teachers according to their needs, who have the basic qualifications specified in the scheme. “If the teachers meet the required standards, the state will be paid an honorarium of Rs 30,000 per teacher per month for that academic year,” the source clarified.
Teacher training is key
Amita Wattal, Chairperson, DLF Foundation School, New Delhi thinks that teaching training is one of the biggest challenges facing the scheme. “Young children have the ability to perceive multiple languages if taught well. Their idea is to help them learn a new language in a culturally appropriate way, ”he said.
Wattal added that teachers should focus on introducing a language through food, music, color, movies and other socially relevant conversations. “Grammar is just a connection to this word. So, teachers should be adept at teaching young children through social and cultural references, ”he says.
Even the availability of language teachers in non-native states for these languages can be a problem, added Jyoti Aurora, principal of Mount Abu Public School, Rohini, Delhi. “I think it’s an amazing opportunity for students to become fluent in multiple languages. At the same time, care should be taken to ensure that suitable qualified and trained teachers are recruited, ”he said.
Early start required
Sanjeev Kumar Gaur, headmaster of the school at GBSS No. 1, Rajouri Garden Extension, New Delhi, said it would not get the desired results unless language training was started from pre-primary level. “We have first generation students whose parents can’t concentrate on their sentences and grammar. Even these children have trouble keeping fluent in Hindi, which is our spoken language. Thus, in non-Hindi speaking states, an early start of language learning becomes essential, ”he says.
Wattal believes that in addition to focusing on learning foreign languages, Indian languages should also be a priority in schools across the country. “In addition to giving students a sense of inclusion in studying in different states, knowledge of different national languages will help them get jobs in different Indian states,” he said.
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