Mandatory Marathi in Maharashtra schools leaves teachers confused

Mar 12, 2016, 07:21 IST | Pallavi Smart

Decision to make Marathi and Shivaji’s history compulsory in non-state board affiliated school curriculum confuses those already teaching the subject

When state education minister Vinod Tawde said in the legislative assembly yesterday the state government has decided to make teaching Marathi compulsory even in non-state-board affiliated school across Maharashtra, many schools in Mumbai that already have the language in their syllabus till Std VII got confused.

Some non-state board schools already include Marathi as an option for board examination level. Pic/AFPSome non-state board schools already include Marathi as an option for board examination level. Pic/AFP

“We want all schools not affiliated with state board across the state to teach Marathi to Std I-VII students,” said Tawde in reply to a question raised by Congress MLAs Yashomati Thakur, Amin Patel and Aslam Sheikh.
“The resolution will be passed in the legislature and then sent to the Union government,” he said.

State education minister Vinod Tawde
State education minister Vinod Tawde

The non-state affiliated boards in the state include ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education), IGCSE (International General Certification of Secondary Education) and CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education).

Tawde added that those schools that do not comply with this will not be given non-objection certificates (NOC) that they require every three years to run their school in the state. Apart from this, the education minister also made compulsory teaching history of Chhatrapati Shivaji in non-state board schools.

Schools react
Non-state board affiliated schools that already teach Marathi till Std VII had trouble understanding how this announcement is different from what they are already doing. Revathy Srinivasan, principal of ICSE-affiliated Sulochanadevi Singhania School in Thane, said, “We teach four languages till Std VII – English, Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit — of which Sanskrit is graded subject. Most schools like ours that are affiliated to different boards but are running in Maharashtra, teach Marathi languages at different levels because it is the language of the state and children should know it.”

Similarly, curriculum of non-state board schools has Chhatrapati Shivaji in it. Francis Swamy, principal of another ICSE-affiliated school — St Mary’s school — in Mazgaon, said, “Children have to learn Marathi language too with other languages. We allow them an option to learn it for any four years till Std VIII. It is a welcoming decision as Marathi is the state language and schools operating here must teach it. Similarly, Shivaji is a great warrior from Maharashtra and that’s why schools in the state already have it in their curriculum irrespective of the board they belong to.”

Adding to this Neha Chheda, director of Shishuvan School (affiliated with ICSE), Matunga, said, “Curriculum till Std VII at ICSE schools is standard. Also, schools in Maharashtra are bound to include history of the state and Marathi language. If the government is to connect NOC with it then there should be clearer guidelines on what exactly are they expecting. Most schools already have Marathi language as a subject till Std VIII.”

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