Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, on 21 Feb 2021, inaugurated the Webinar on the occasion of 'International Mother Language Day.' The Webinar on ‘Fostering Multilingualism for Inclusion in Education and Society’ is being organised jointly by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture and IGNCA. The Vice President also inaugurated the International Virtual Calligraphy Exhibition. Union Minister for Education, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank,' Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture Shri Prahlad Singh Patel; Minister of State for Education Shri Sanjay Dhotre and Member Secretary, IGNCA, Dr. Sachidanand Joshi were also present through the virtual medium. All the speakers spoke in length about the importance of the Mother tongue and the need for its preservation which will be a treasure for our future generations.
The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu on 21 Feb 2020 called for making mother tongue the primary medium of instruction, at least until Grade 5. He suggested that educating a child in a language that is not spoken at home can be a big impediment to learning especially at the primary stage. Referring to multiple studies, Shri Naidu said that teaching through the mother tongue in the initial stages of education can boost a child’s self-esteem and enhance his or her creativity. Calling the New Education Policy a visionary and progressive document, he urged for implementing the policy in letter and spirit.
Speaking at the inaugural session, the Vice President focused on five key sectors to promote the use of the mother tongue. Apart from emphasizing the use of mother tongue in primary education, the other highlighted areas are the use of local languages in administration, court proceedings and to deliver judgments in them. He also wanted a gradual increase in the use of indigenous languages in higher and technical education. The final emphasis was on everyone to proudly and preferably use their mother tongue in their homes.
Shri Venkaiah Naidu said that with hundreds of languages coexisting, linguistic diversity is one of the cornerstones of our ancient civilization. Observing how our mother tongues can evoke an emotional response in the people, Shri Naidu called them an ‘important link to our socio-cultural identity’, ‘a repository of our collective knowledge and wisdom’ and thus needs to be protected, preserved and promoted.
On this occasion, Shri Naidu appreciated various government initiatives for a multilingual society such as the National Translation Mission, the Bharatavani project and the proposed setting up of a Bharatiya Bhasha Vishwavidyalaya (BBV) and Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITT).
In conclusion, the Vice President reiterated that languages are nourished only by constant use and that every day must be a Matribhasha Diwas. He called for all-round commitment and efforts to reclaim mother tongues and to ‘feel proud to speak freely and confidently in one’s mother tongue’ in homes, community, meetings and administration.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Pokhriyal said that the importance of language lies not only in national unity but also in strengthening the culture of the country. Research has proved that 90% of a child's brain develops by the age of 6 and for the holistic development of our children, it is necessary that the knowledge is acquired in the mother tongue, he added.
Shri Pokhriyal highlighted that the National Education Policy 2021 has given maximum attention to the development of mother tongues. The government has emphasized on promoting multilingualism with our policy so that our children can get acquainted with the vast wealth of languages of our country. He further said that it is the first education policy that empowers students with the subject and language of their choice. The policy recommends that as far as possible, the medium of instruction shall be, at least till class 5, (preferably up to grade 8 and beyond) mother tongue/vernacular/regional language. Shri Pokhriyal said that this education policy calls for many new initiatives that will help in building a truly multilingual society in India.
Shri Prahlad Patel said every mother tongue has a world of its own, has its own character, has its own expressions. While we have to learn other languages, the mother tongue on the other hand develops in us naturally. Everyone feels a sense of attachment and affinity while speaking their mother tongue. The way in which culture influences the development of our personality, in a similar manner one's mother tongue also strengthens one's personality.
Addressing the participants Shri Dhotre said that consequent to the declaration of 21st February as the International Mother Language Day, (Matribhasha Diwas) UNESCO in 1999, this day is being celebrated every year since 2015 in a grand manner by involving all the higher educational institutions/schools across the country to organize various activities like Debating, Singing, Essay Writing and Painting competitions, Music and Dramatic performances, Exhibitions etc. Shri Dhotre highlighted that the purpose of the celebrations is to promote the preservation and protection of all languages spoken by the people globally and also to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism of the languages. He further said that the Government has adopted a proactive approach to promote all Indian languages and strengthen the mother tongue in the Indian education system.
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