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New education policy favours Sanskrit in schools
National

New education policy favours Sanskrit in schools

S Murari

The draft of the New Education Policy 2019 has recommended that Sanskrit should be offered at all levels of school and higher education as one of the optional languages on par with all Schedule 8 languages. The committee has recommended a simple standard to teach 'Sanskrit through Sanskrit' (STS) and make the works of Kalidasa and Bhasa widely available.

The NEP Committee headed by ISRO chief K Kasturirangan has recommended that “Sanskrit will be offered at all levels of school and higher education as one of the optional languages on par with all Schedule 8 languages. Sanskrit textbooks at the Foundational and Middle school level may be rewritten in Simple Standard Sanskrit (SSS) in order to teach Sanskrit through Sanskrit (STS) and make its study truly enjoyable.”

The draft reads: “Considering the special importance of Sanskrit to the growth and development of Indian languages, and its unique contribution to knowledge development in as well as the cultural unity of the country, facilities for the study of Sanskrit, its scientific nature, and including samplings of diverse ancient and medieval writings in Sanskrit from a diverse set of authors like the plays of Kalidasa and Bhasa, will be made widely available in schools and higher educational institutions.”

It has emphasised: “Where relevant, history-changing Sanskrit writings will be integrated suitably in various school subjects as well as in literature and writing classes like Bhaskara’s poems on mathematics and puzzles that help to make the study of mathematics more engaging, the incorporation of relevant Panchatantra stories in ethics classes, etc.”

In addition to Sanskrit, the teaching of other classical languages and literature of India, including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Pali, Persian, and Prakrit has also been recommended for ensuring that these languages and literature stay alive and vibrant, especially in states where they may be best taught and nurtured.

“Classical writings in these and other languages across India from diverse sets of authors will also be studied and suitably incorporated throughout the curriculum and in literature and writing classes”.

All students in all schools, public or private, will take at least two years of a classical language of India in Grades 6-8, with the option to continue through secondary education and university.

For the students who may opt for Sanskrit as one of their chosen languages in the three-language formula “may instead take an additional modern or classical Indian language or literature class for two years in lieu of the classical language requirement.”

For example, students in Hindi-speaking States who are taking Hindi, Sanskrit and English as their three languages can take two years of a language from another part of India like Tamil in order to satisfy this language requirement.