NEP National Education Policy 2020 > Indian Languages, Arts, Culture Promotion
National Education Policy 2020 for India NEP2020
Chapter 22. Promotion of Indian Languages, Arts, and Culture
22.1. India is a treasure trove of culture, developed over thousands of years and manifested in the form of arts, works of literature, customs, traditions, linguistic expressions, artefacts, heritage sites, and more. Crores of people from around the world partake in, enjoy, and benefit from this cultural wealth daily, in the form of visiting India for tourism, experiencing Indian hospitality, purchasing India’s handicrafts and handmade textiles, reading the classical literature of India, practicing yoga and meditation, being inspired by Indian philosophy, participating in India’s unique festivals, appreciating India’s diverse music and art, and watching Indian films, amongst many other aspects. It is this cultural and natural wealth that truly makes India, “Incredible !ndia”, as per India’s tourism slogan. The preservation and promotion of India ’s cultural wealth must be considered a high priority for the country, as it is truly important for the nation ’s identity as well as for its economy.
22.2. The promotion of Indian arts and culture is important not only for the nation but also for the individual. Cultural awareness and expression are among the major competencies considered important to develop in children, in order to provide them with a sense of identity, belonging, as well as an appreciation of other cultures and identities. It is through the development of a strong sense and knowledge of their own cultural history, arts, languages, and traditions that children can build a positive cultural identity and self-esteem. Thus, cultural awareness and expression are important contributors both to individual as well as societal well-being.
22.3. The arts form a major medium for imparting culture. The arts - besides strengthening cultural identity, awareness, and uplifting societies - are well known to enhance cognitive and creative abilities in individuals and increase individual happiness. The happiness/well-being, cognitive development, and cultural identity of individuals are important reasons that Indian arts of all kinds must be offered to students at all levels of education, starting with early childhood care and education.
22.4. Language, of course, is inextricably linked to art and culture. Different languages ‘see ’ the world differently, and the structure of a language, therefore, determines a native speaker ’s perception of experience. In particular, languages influence the way people of a given culture speak with others, including with family members, authority figures, peers, and strangers, and influence the tone of conversation. The tone, perception of experience, and familiarity/‘apnapan’ inherent in conversations among speakers of a common language are a reflection and record of a culture. Culture is, thus, encased in our languages. Art, in the form of literature, plays, music, film, etc. cannot be fully appreciated without language. In order to preserve and promote culture, one must preserve and promote a culture’s languages.
22.5. Unfortunately, Indian languages have not received their due attention and care, with the country losing over 220 languages in the last 50 years alone. UNESCO has declared 197 Indian languages as ‘endangered ’. Various unscripted languages are particularly in danger of becoming extinct. When senior member(s) of a tribe or community that speak such languages pass away, these languages often perish with them; too often, no concerted actions or measures are taken to preserve or record these rich languages/expressions of culture.
22.6. Moreover, even those languages of India that are not officially on such endangered lists, such as the 22 languages of Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, are facing serious difficulties on many fronts. Teaching and learning of Indian languages need to be integrated with school and higher education at every level. For languages to remain relevant and vibrant, there must be a steady stream of high-quality learning and print materials in these languages including textbooks, workbooks, videos, plays, poems, novels, magazines, etc. Languages must also have consistent official updates to their vocabularies and dictionaries, widely disseminated, so that the most current issues and concepts can be effectively discussed in these languages. Enabling such learning materials, print materials, and translations of important materials from world languages, and constantly updating vocabularies, are carried out by countries around the world for languages such as English, French, German, Hebrew, Korean, and Japanese. However, India has remained quite slow in producing such learning and print materials and dictionaries to help keep its languages optimally vibrant and current with integrity.
22.7. Additionally, there has been a severe scarcity of skilled language teachers in India, despite various measures being taken. Language-teaching too must be improved to be more experiential and to focus on the ability to converse and interact in the language and not just on the literature, vocabulary, and grammar of the language. Languages must be used more extensively for conversation and for teaching-learning.
22.8. A number of initiatives to foster languages, arts, and culture in school children have been discussed in Chapter 4, which include a greater emphasis on music, arts, and crafts throughout all levels of school; early implementation of the three-language formula to promote multilingualism; teaching in the home/local language wherever possible; conducting more experiential language learning; the hiring of outstanding local artists, writers, craftspersons, and other experts as master instructors in various subjects of local expertise; accurate inclusion of traditional Indian knowledge including tribal and other local knowledge throughout into the curriculum, across humanities, sciences, arts, crafts, and sports, whenever relevant; and a much greater flexibility in the curriculum, especially in secondary schools and in higher education, so that students can choose the ideal balance among courses for themselves to develop their own creative, artistic, cultural, and academic paths.
22.9. To enable the key latter initiatives, a number of further actions will be taken in tandem at the higher education level and beyond. First, to develop and teach many of the courses of the type mentioned above, an excellent team of teachers and faculty will have to be developed. Strong departments and programmes in Indian languages, comparative literature, creative writing, arts, music, philosophy, etc. will be launched and developed across the country, and degrees including 4- year B.Ed. dual degrees will be developed in these subjects. These departments and programmes will, in particular help to develop a large cadre of high-quality language teachers - as well as teachers of art, music, philosophy and writing - who will be needed around the country to carry out this Policy. The NRF will fund quality research in all these areas. Outstanding local artists and craftspersons will be hired as guest faculty to promote local music, art, languages, and handicraft, and to ensure that students are aware of the culture and local knowledge where they study. Every higher education institution and even every school or school complex will aim to have Artist(s)-in-Residence to expose students to art, creativity, and the rich treasures of the region/country.
22.10. More HEIs, and more programmes in higher education, will use the mother tongue/local language as a medium of instruction, and/or offer programmes bilingually, in order to increase access and GER and also to promote the strength, usage, and vibrancy of all Indian languages. Private HEIs too will be encouraged and incentivized to use Indian languages as medium of instruction and/or offer bilingual programmes. Four-year B.Ed. dual degree programmes offered bilingually will also help, e.g. in training cadres of science and mathematics teachers to teach science bilingually at schools across the country.
22.11. High-quality programmes and degrees in Translation and Interpretation, Art and Museum Administration, Archaeology, Artefact Conservation, Graphic Design, and Web Design within the higher education system will also be created. In order to preserve and promote its art and culture, develop high-quality materials in various Indian languages, conserve artefacts, develop highly qualified individuals to curate and run museums and heritage or tourist sites, thereby also vastly strengthening the tourism industry.
22.12. The Policy recognizes that the knowledge of the rich diversity of India should be imbibed first hand by learners. This would mean including simple activities, like touring by students to different parts of the country, which will not only give a boost to tourism but will also lead to an understanding and appreciation of diversity, culture, traditions and knowledge of different parts of India. Towards this direction under ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’, 100 tourist destinations in the country will be identified where educational institutions will send students to study these destinations and their history, scientific contributions, traditions, indigenous literature and knowledge, etc., as a part of augmenting their knowledge about these areas.
22.13. Creating such programmes and degrees in higher education, across the arts, languages, and humanities, will also come with expanded high-quality opportunities for employment that can make effective use of these qualifications. There are already hundreds of Academies, museums, art galleries, and heritage sites in dire need of qualified individuals for their effective functioning. As positions are filled with suitably qualified candidates, and further artefacts are procured and conserved, additional museums, including virtual museums/e-museums, galleries, and heritage sites may contribute to the conservation of our heritage as well as to India’s tourism industry.
22.14. India will also urgently expand its translation and interpretation efforts in order to make highquality learning materials and other important written and spoken material available to the public in various Indian and foreign languages. For this, an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI) will be established. Such an institute would provide a truly important service for the country, as well as employ numerous multilingual language and subject experts, and experts in translation and interpretation, which will help to promote all Indian languages. The IITI shall also make extensive use of technology to aid in its translation and interpretation efforts. The IITI could naturally grow with time, and be housed in multiple locations including in HEIs to facilitate collaborations with other research departments as demand and the number of qualified candidates grows.
22.15. Due to its vast and significant contributions and literature across genres and subjects, its cultural significance, and its scientific nature, rather than being restricted to single-stream Sanskrit Pathshalas and Universities, Sanskrit will be mainstreamed with strong offerings in school - including as one of the language options in the three-language formula - as well as in higher education. It will be taught not in isolation, but in interesting and innovative ways, and connected to other contemporary and relevant subjects such as mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, linguistics, dramatics, yoga, etc. Thus, in consonance with the rest of this policy, Sanskrit Universities too will move towards becoming large multidisciplinary institutions of higher learning. Departments of Sanskrit that conduct teaching and outstanding interdisciplinary research on Sanskrit and Sanskrit Knowledge Systems will be established/strengthened across the new multidisciplinary higher education system. Sanskrit will become a natural part of a holistic multidisciplinary higher education if a student so chooses. Sanskrit teachers in large numbers will be professionalized across the country in mission mode through the offering of 4-year integrated multidisciplinary B.Ed. dual degrees in education and Sanskrit.
22.16. India will similarly expand its institutes and universities studying all classical languages and literature, with strong efforts to collect, preserve, translate, and study the tens of thousands of manuscripts that have not yet received their due attention. Sanskrit and all Indian language institutes and departments across the country will be significantly strengthened, with adequate training given to large new batches of students to study, in particular, the large numbers of manuscripts and their interrelations with other subjects. Classical language institutes will aim to be merged with universities, while maintaining their autonomy, so that faculty may work, and students too may be trained as part of robust and rigorous multidisciplinary programmes. Universities dedicated to languages will become multidisciplinary, towards the same end; where relevant, they may then also offer B.Ed. dual degrees in education and a language, to develop outstanding language teachers in that language. Further, it is also proposed that a new institution for Languages will be established. National Institute (or Institutes) for Pali, Persian and Prakrit will also be set up within a university campus. Similar initiatives will be carried out for institutes and universities studying Indian arts, art history, and Indology. Research for outstanding work in all these areas will be supported by the NRF.
22.17. Efforts to preserve and promote all Indian languages including classical, tribal and endangered languages will be taken on with new vigour. Technology and crowdsourcing, with extensive participation of the people, will play a crucial role in these efforts.
22.18. For each of the languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, Academies will be established consisting of some of the greatest scholars and native speakers to determine simple yet accurate vocabulary for the latest concepts, and to release the latest dictionaries on a regular basis (analogous to the successful efforts for many other languages around the world). The Academies would also consult with each other, and in some cases take the best suggestions from the public, in order to construct these dictionaries attempting to adopt common words whenever possible. These dictionaries would be widely disseminated, for use in education, journalism, writing, speechmaking, and beyond, and would be available on the web as well as in book form. These Academies for Eighth Schedule languages will be established by the Central Government in consultation or collaboration with State Governments. Academies for other highly spoken Indian languages may also be similarly established by the Centre and/or States.
22.19. All languages in India, and their associated arts and culture will be documented through a web-based platform/portal/wiki, in order to preserve endangered and all Indian languages and their associated rich local arts and culture. The platform will contain videos, dictionaries, recordings, and more, of people (especially elders) speaking the language, telling stories, reciting poetry, and performing plays, folk songs and dances, and more. People from across the country will be invited to contribute to these efforts by adding relevant material onto these platforms/portals/wikis. Universities and their research teams will work with each other and with communities across the country towards enriching such platforms. These preservation efforts, and the associated research projects, e.g., in history, archaeology, linguistics, etc., will be funded by the NRF.
22.20. Scholarships for people of all ages to study Indian Languages, Arts, and Culture with local masters and/or within the higher education system will be established. The promotion of Indian languages is possible only if they are used regularly and if they are used for teaching and learning. Incentives, such as prizes for outstanding poetry and prose in Indian languages across categories, will be established to ensure vibrant poetry, novels, nonfiction books, textbooks, journalism, and other works in all Indian languages. Proficiency in Indian languages will be included as part of qualification parameters for employment opportunities.
( Source : PDF of National Education Policy 2020 at Ministry of Education, India website.)
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