Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) in the second week of November 2014 decided to use Sanskrit as a third language in schools of Kendriya Vidyalaya (KVs) in place of German language.
The decision to discontinue German was taken after the meeting of Board of Governors of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) on 27 October 2014. The meeting was headed by Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani.
German, which was taught as an option to Sanskrit, has now been made an additional subject or hobby class (not a third language) for students from classes 6 to 8.
The decision is expected to affect about over 70000 students across 500 KVs from classes 6 to 8 who will be asked to switch from German to Sanskrit. However, students will be given an option to pick any Indian language of their choice as annual exams are barely three months away.
German was taught as a third language from classes 6 to 8 in KV schools after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between KVS and Goethe Institute—Max Mueller Bhawan in 2011. However, the MoU was not referred to HRD Ministry at any stage.
Earlier at the start of 2014, Sanskrit Shikshak Sangh had moved the Delhi High Court alleging that KVS had introduced German as a third language in place of Sanskrit against the education policy.
The three language formula as enunciated by the National policy on Education states and subsequently by the National Curriculum Framework 2005 states that Sanskrit may be studied as a modern Indian language apart from Hindi and English.
Though the HRD Ministry had said that not teaching Sanskrit as third language in KV schools is the violation of the Constitution and National Policy on Education and have even launched an investigation on the MoU signed between KVS and Goethe Institute in 2011, however, critics see it otherwise.
From 2008, the number of Indian students going to Germany for higher studies has risen by 114 per cent. Germany is one of the top destinations for Indian students, particularly those studying engineering, science and technology, for affordable higher education and possible employment. Proficiency in German language is an asset that these students pursue while in school itself.
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