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Maharashtra government to make Marathi compulsory in schools of all boards

June 28, 2019
Dipta Joshi

Schools in Maharashtra will soon have to teach the state’s official language Marathi irrespective of its board. Responding to queries in the legislative council on 19 June, the state’s chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis promised to amend the law to ensure compulsory teaching of language in of all boards including Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), International Baccalaureate (IB) as well as International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) boards.

A government resolution dated 20 June, 2012 had directed schools to teach Marathi language as a subject up to class 8 and then be offered as an optional subject in classes 9 and 10. Teaching Marathi language has also been made one of the mandatory conditions for non-state boards to receive no-objection certificates (NOCs) from the state government. However, there have been complaints about several non-state board schools not following the state government’s diktat. Most schools teach the Marathi as a subject till class VII only since they begin preparations for class X boards from class VIII onwards. With no exams being conducted till class VIII (under the no-detention policy)there has been no monitoring of schools which don’t implement the rule.  

The Bhartiya Janta Party’s (BJP) governing ally, the Shiv Sena has also been demanding that Marathi be made mandatory just like it is in the states of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal where the mother tongue is being taught as a subject in all private schools.

Also read: Schools failing to promote Marathi could have their NOC cancelled

The demand for promoting Marathi language within the state and at a national level too has been gaining traction over the past few years with many Marathi language intellectuals also supporting its cause. On 24 June more than 20 literary and teacher’s organisations came together to protest the state government’s apathy towards promoting Marathi language. The group comprising prominent Marathi writers and academicians rued the fact that many Marathi language schools within the state were shutting down because of the government’s failure to promote the language. They proposed the state government pursue the long standing proposal to give Marathi language the status of a classical language. The demand has been awaiting central government nod for the last five years.

Submitting a list of demands to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and cultural minister, Vinod Tawde, the protesting group demanded the government pass laws to make studying Marathi compulsory till class 12 in all English medium schools. The CM promised to issue an ordinance for making Marathi compulsory in schools besides setting up a separate authority to ensure the implementation of Marathi under the Maharashtra official languages act 1964. The CM also assured construction of ‘Marathi Bhasha Bhavan’and appointment of dedicated staff to further the cause of the state’s official language.

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