The Gujarat High Court on Thursday sought to know how the state government will preserve the mother tongue unless it is taught in schools and observed culture is largely derived from language.
Newly-appointed Chief Justice Sonia Gokani, hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), said the state government’s attempt to ensure the Gujarati language is taught in schools is “toothless” in the absence of a regulatory framework.
The government, on its part, assured the court it will put in place a regulatory mechanism to ensure the policy of promoting the Gujarati language among students is effectively implemented.
It also said schools in the state are being made aware of the requirement.
“Today if you look at it, this is a major issue. This (Gujarati) is also one of the languages in our Constitution. How are you going to preserve it unless it is being taught in the schools? The entire culture comes with the language,” Chief Justice Gokani noted.
She made the observations while hearing a PIL seeking compulsory implementation of the government policy of teaching the Gujarati language as one of the mandatory subjects in schools from Classes I to VIII.
Chief Justice Gokani said the government will need to take some steps to ensure schools follow its language teaching policy from the next academic sessions.
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The government presented before the court a list of 47 schools and said 13 of them have not undertaken teaching Gujarati as a compulsory subject as required under its policy.
Chief Justice Gokani suggested the Gujarat government to think along the lines of other states which have come up with a law for the same, because once there is a law, everybody will have to follow it.
As far as Kendriya Vidyalayas (central government schools) are concerned, the court was informed that they have their own regulations regarding teaching regional languages.
Instructions will be obtained from state authorities on the issue of teaching Gujarati in Kendriya Vidyalayas, by the next date of hearing on February 21, said a government lawyer.
The HC was hearing the PIL filed by NGO ‘Matrubhasha Abhiyan’ seeking its direction to the state “to ensure the Government Resolution of 2018 is implemented in its true letter and spirit so as to introduce the Gujarati language as one of the mandatory subjects in primary schools from Standard 1 to 8.”
The petitioner has pointed out that primary schools, especially those affiliated to CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) and IB (International Baccalaureate) boards were not offering Gujarati as a subject in the curriculum despite there being a policy in place in this regard.