Sanskrit as a compulsory 3rd language for CBSE schools leaves Northeast India in quandary!


In the wake of news reports that Centre is all set to introduce Sanskrit as the third language in private schools affiliated to CBSE from the next academic session, the decision has evoked mixed response from all sections of people in Northeast Indian states. TNT- The Northeast Today delves deeper into the issue and seeks views of people who might be directly affected by this decision.

Students in CBSE schools may soon have to study four languages if they want to take up a foreign language as the board has recommended that schools follow three-language formula under which students study Hindi, English and one modern Indian language such as Sanskrit or their mother tongue. Many private schools in the Capital offer foreign languages along with Sanskrit as the third language. But with CBSE's new move, foreign language will become an elective or additional language.

Archana Gurung, Principal, Government Senior Secondary School, Jorethang, South Sikkim said, " There are about 29 Sanskrit teachers in Sikkim out of whom 8 are in South Sikkim including Jorethang SSS. Sanskrit is being taught as 3rd language upto class 8. It is a good idea to introduce Sanskrit from class 9 on wards as a 3rd language as it is the oldest and the mother of all languages including some European languages. Sanskrit is being taught in many states. However preparation is required to make it a part of the curriculum like appointment of Sanskrit teachers. On the brighter side learning Sanskrit will open new avenues for the students of Sikkim and will also help them hone their skills in Nepali and Hindi as well"

Students and parents in Agartala gave a mixed response to the issue that CBSE might introduce Sanskrit as the third language. Many of them did not entertain the idea as they said Sanskrit education would do no better to their future.

"Sanskrit language as a subject is okay to be included  in lower-level classes, but the subject has no such importance in higher-level. Students, especially studying in Science stream would spend much time on their core papers rather the languages," Rohit Sahu , a Class 9 student said. The parents as well, didn't like the idea much as they want their children to devote time other subjects rather than the Sanskrit. A teacher of a CBSE-based Hindi Higher Secondary School said they would abide by the verdict of the CBSE, if they receive such guidelines.

Pankaj Das, member of Assam Private School Owners' Association said currently it would be difficult for them to comment anything on the issue and they would wait for the Centre's official notification on this matter. However, proper preparations have to be made for the same if, at all, Sanskrit is to be included as the third subject and that learning any language would never a problem provided they are well equipped with the required staff. Speaking to the principal of Army Public School, Shillong in Meghalaya, P. Rajeevan. P said that he would reserve his comments on this until a notification from the Centre on this was received.

As seen from the above reactions, some schools are unhappy with the move and said that students should be free to study foreign languages if they wish to. Principals said that most students take up foreign languages because they want to go abroad or make a career in the language. Also, while the three-language formula is applicable only till Class VIII, as per a decision of the board, students of Class IX and X will also have to study three languages. Reportedly, they will only be required to get passing marks in the third language, sources said. Some schools said it will add unnecessary burden on students. CBSE's governing body also resolved that principals of all CBSE schools will have to pass an eligibility test.

"Language must be the choice of the parents and not the choice of any political party. Parents will decide in which language and what language their children will study", said an angry parent from Shillong. While another parent said, "it is important for us as Indians to be aware of the language Sanskrit and it will be an opportunity for our children that they must seize". While some also went on to question this move by saying that this was an agenda of the BJP led Centre to spread out the 'Hindutva' ideology.

Whatever be the Center's decision, it may be mentioned that without the availability of expert Sanskrit teachers, the step may put students of Northeast India in a very tough situation.

TNT News

Image: Internet sources/Representational