Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced that his government will soon bring a stricter law to ensure compulsory teaching of Marathi in all schools across the state.
In an address delivered on the floor of the assembly on Thursday, Devendra Fadnavis claimed that several CBSE and ICSE educational institutions were found circumventing a state government directive on mandatory teaching of Marathi in all educational institutions. "Schools in Maharashtra have to teach Marathi, no matter which board they are affiliated to. I will hold a meeting along with Marathi Language minister Vinod Tawde on Monday, and all requirements in this regard will be met," he said.
Marathi is supposed to be taught compulsorily in all state schools either as a second or third language. "There are two factors requiring us to ensure that Marathi is taught in the school. Firstly, the ICSE board we are affiliated to requires all children from grade five to grade eight to learn the local or state language as a third language under the three-language formula," Sudeshna Chatterjee, Principal of Euro School in Airoli, Navi Mumbai, told NDTV.
The second factor, she said, was a government resolution passed in 2009 that made it compulsory for Marathi to be taught in schools as the third language. "So, given both these requirements, we not only have Marathi as the second language from grade one to ten but also Marathi as the third language from grade one to eight for students who want another language as their second language. So, all children from grade one to eight either learn Marathi as their second or third language," Ms Chatterjee added.
Students at such schools, for their part, said they enjoy learning the local language. Many claimed that it's not an additional burden because the Marathi script is similar to that of Hindi, and in fact, it helps them in everyday life.
Ms Chatterjee denied claims that the law mandating compulsory teaching of Marathi would make things difficult for children of people who have to put up with regular job transfers. "There are certain prerequisite of a formal structure of schooling that parents will have to accept, depending on the requirements of that place," she said. "A child can learn a new language much more easily than an adult, and the best way to adapt to a new place is by learning the local language."