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‘Unnecessary educational burden’: Centre on teaching students regional languages

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Justifying the Army Welfare Education Society’s decision of not to teach regional languages in Army Public schools, the government on Friday said that teaching regional languages would put an “unnecessary educational burden” on the students.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence Ajay Bhatt made this statement in response to a question asked by Congress MP Dr Shashi Tharoor in the Lok Sabha. The Congress lawmaker sought to know the reason behind implementing such a decision across 136 Army Public Schools.

“Army Public Schools are established under the aegis of the Army Welfare and Education Society to cater to education requirements for wards of Indian Army personnel who hail from diverse backgrounds and regions of India with different mother tongues,” Bhatt said in a written statement.

He further explained that unlike other schools with students from the immediate and extended locality, all 136 Army Public Schools are enrolled primarily with wards of Indian Army personnel, who have been transferred from another location.

The MoS noted that the relatively limited period of stay of families with serving personnel in the station and frequent transfers have necessitated the standardization of the languages- English, Hindi and Sanskrit.

The change of regional language in the middle of an academic session will place an unnecessary educational burden, in addition to emotional turmoil due to academic instability that Army wards have to endure when transferred into a new environment every few years, Bhatt stated.

On being asked if the Ministry can intervene to make arrangements for teaching regional languages to students, Bhatt refused.

The Army Welfare Education Society issued a circular on 8 December 2021 which told all Army Public Schools across the country that regional languages won’t be taught in the schools.

The Society had stated that “the provision of teaching a regional language is not practical,” hence, to standardise the system, no other language other than English, Hindi and Sanskrit would be offered at the schools. It further said that students studying in classes 9-12 can get themselves registered for any regional languages but the school would not provide a teacher for the regional languages.

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