[lg policy] Compulsory Board Exam for Sanskrit?

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Jun 22 10:35:29 EDT 2018


 Compulsory Board Exam for Sanskrit? RSS Body's Input for New Education
Policy The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-backed Bharatiya Shikshan
Mandal wants classical languages to be compulsory from classes IX to XII,
for which they have presented certain points to the committee headed by K
Kasturirangan in order to draft the New Education Policy (NEP).

Eram Agha <https://www.news18.com/byline/eram-agha.html>
<https://www.news18.com/byline/eram-agha.html> | News18.com
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*Updated:*June 22, 2018, 11:49 AM IST
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*New Delhi:* ‘Baalak, Balkau, Balkah’, the Sanskrit’s dreaded *shabd roop*
that made most English medium students sweat during their middle school
days may soon return to haunt in high school. But if you still want to get
rid of the subject, you may perhaps look for respite in Arabic, Persian,
Hebrew, Latin and Greek.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-backed Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal
wants classical languages to be compulsory from classes IX to XII, for
which they have presented certain points to the committee headed by K
Kasturirangan in order to draft the New Education Policy (NEP).

They believe that learning classical is crucial for “healthy social life”.
“The policy aims at strengthening the emotional integration in our national
life, which is clearly present in all the sects and classical languages,”
said Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal head Mukul Kanitkar.

The perspective behind this decision is that, if everyone in the country
accepts Hindi to be the language of communication, no one will leave it
out. “Then, the subjects that are neglected by students as they do not
generate jobs, can be taken up to be taught in schools,” Kanitkar opines.

A delegation led by the Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal head presented the
document titled ‘Bharatiya Education Outline’ to the NEP Committee, saying:
“During the four-year plan – from class 9th to 12th -- a student will be
provided with a choice to complete his studies without learning English or
Hindi, but it will be mandatory for him to learn Sanskrit or any other
classical language.”

As we wait for the New Education Policy to become a reality, *News18.com*
brings the Language policy recommendations made by BSM.

*Classical Languages and the ‘Spirit of Patriotism’*

Under the existing National Education Policy, the existing three-language
formula means students in Hindi-speaking states should learn a modern
Indian language, apart from Hindi and English, and in non-Hindi-speaking
states, they should learn Hindi along with the regional language and
English.

Three language formula is applicable to students from class 6th to 8th. In
class IX and X, two-language formula is followed with English as a
mandatory language and Hindi, or Sanskrit, or a foreign language as the
second choice.

Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal is a Nagpur based colloquium, working in the
education domain since 1969 for awakening “patriotism, nationalism and
transforming future generation into future Nation.” They have five
dimensional functional verticals: Research, Awareness, Training,
Publication and Organization.

The recommendations made to the committee are based on the “feedback given
by the society”.

In April 2018, BSM held a grand function Virat Gurukul Sammelan in Ujjain,
which was attended by the Human Resource Development minister Prakash
Javadekar, where he emphasized on “value and holistic education.” A zero
draft of the national education policy is ready. The committee made a
presentation last week, which will be shared with the peer groups and given
a final shape.

Broadly, in the eight- year general education program recommended by them,
the first language must be mother tongue and two more languages from the
8th schedule of the Constitution of India. Further, from class 9th to 12th
“a student should be provided with a choice to complete studies without
learning English or Hindi, but it should be mandatory for him to learn
Sanskrit or any other Classical language,” he said.

*Sanskrit over Hindi, English*

“Some people may question this policy as they are of the opinion that Hindi
— the language of communication, should be made compulsory. Hindi is not
mandatory under this policy; however, there are two languages — mother
tongue and Sanskrit or a classical language, which will be mandatory for
the student,” said Kanitkar.

The perspective behind this decision is that, if everyone in the country
accepts Hindi to be the language of communication, no one will leave it
out. The subjects that are neglected by students, because they do not aid
in employment, should be made compulsory. “Therefore, in this plan, study
of mother tongue and any one of the classical language have been made
obligatory. A student who does not wish to learn Sanskrit may choose from
Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Latin, Greek, or any other classical language,” he
said.

*Proposal Essential for Socio-cultural Perspective *

The policy is based on the belief that a treasure trove of knowledge and
values is present in our classical languages and it is very crucial for a
healthy social life. This way, the policy aims at strengthening the
emotional integration in our national life, which is clearly present in all
the sects and classical languages.

He said, “What is happening now is, we are losing our communication and
connection with Indian ethos by not studying Indian or classical languages
till class 12th. By not studying that literature, we are losing
communication and values and we are not able to become holistic persons,
which will also help in our professional development – as a doctor or an
engineer.”

Though some experts and former CBSE officials said on grounds of anonymity
that nothing retrograde should be proposed, as 12th is closer to higher
education and research no decision should be taken to overburden the
students. The students are in a transitory phase, moving towards higher
education, "there has to be linkages with that world and not a burden,"
said a former CBSE official.

*Spend More Time in Schools*

Sangh backed organization believes since there are too many holidays, a
calendar that ensures more time in school for value education should be
devised.

“Presently there are too many holidays, “This duration is insufficient not
only for the students, but also for the great endeavours of teaching. It
has been proposed that in order to assimilate value education the working
period should be increased by few more days,” said Kanitkar. In his opinion
teaching Value education as a separate subject is not useful, what is
important is, “bring value education in all subjects,” he said.

As of now, CBSE signed a MoU with the Ramakrishna Mission in 2014 for
taking Values Education program to its affiliated schools. They prepared, a
three year graded Values Education program for students of class 6, 7 and 8
called ‘Awakened Citizen Program’ for teachers and students.


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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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