IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Language of unity: on rejection of the three-language formula

5th August, 2020 Editorial


  • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has rejected the three-language formula advocated in the National Education Policy (NEP 2020).
  • Its two-language policy remains non-negotiable for almost the entire political class.

Fear of imposing Hindi

  • Opposition from the State forced the Centre to amend the draft NEP and withdraw a proposal to teach Hindi as a third language in schools in non-Hindi speaking States.
  • Yet the NEP chose to push for the three-language formula, packaging it as a means to promote multilingualism and “national unity”.
  • Though the policy said that no language would be imposed on any State, it has unexpectedly cut no ice with parties in Tamil Nadu.
  • In a State that resisted multiple attempts to impose Hindi since 1937, political parties are understandably wary of any mandate to impart an additional language in schools.
  • They fear this would eventually pave the way for Hindi to enter the State through the back door.

Success of two-language policy

  • The two-language policy of Tamil and English, piloted by former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai in 1968, has thus far worked well in the State.
  • In a liberalised world, more windows to the world are being opened up for those proficient in English, a global link language.
  • The State’s significant human resources contribution to the ever-expanding IT sector is also attributed to the English fluency of its recruits as much as to their technical knowledge.
  • There is this counter-argument that Tamil Nadu is depriving students of an opportunity to learn Hindi, touted as a national link language.
  • However, its voluntary learning has never been restricted and the growth over the past decade in the number of CBSE schools, where the language is taught, would bear testimony to this.
  • Out of necessity, many in the State have picked up conversational Hindi to engage with the migrant population that feeds the labour needs from factories to hair salons.
  • Only compulsion is met with resistance. India’s federal nature and diversity demand that no regional language is given supremacy over another.

Reference- https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/language-of-unity-on-rejection-of-the-three-language-formula/article32271581.ece