Schools told not to discourage kids from speaking Punjabi

Director Public Instructions (secondary education) issues circular highlighting complaints being received

Schools told not to discourage kids from speaking Punjabi

Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, November 27

The issue of children losing interest in learning their mother tongue has long been debated but still some schools are seen discouraging students to speak in their mother tongue.

International Mother Language Day is celebrated on February 21, where a proper discussion is held on the issue of private schools asking students not to speak in Punjabi while conversing with one another.

Recently, the Director Public Instructions (secondary education), in a communique to the chairman of Council for Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) and chairman of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has highlighted that several complaints were being received, where schools don’t allow students to speak in Punjabi and this practice should be stopped.

“There should be a proper implementation of provisions of the Languages Act, 2008. Teaching of Punjabi is compulsory as a subject from Class I to X in all schools in Punjab. It has further been provided that no Board or institution shall award matriculation certificates to any students unless he has passed Class X examination in Punjabi. You are therefore requested to ensure that all schools situated in Punjab and affiliated with the Board comply,” the circular reads.

It further states: “Complaints have also been received with the department that some of the schools discourage students to speak in Punjabi during informal discussions either among students themselves or with teachers during school hours. This has an adverse impact on the mental development of students as some of them may find it difficult to express themselves. It is also requested that appropriate directions are issued to the schools not to indulge in such practices.”

An Education Department official said such circulars were passed earlier as well, but no school complies with the order. “Moreover, parents also don’t want their wards to converse in Punjabi anymore. One must respect the mother tongue,” he said.

Des Raj Kali, a noted and prominent writer from Punjab, said: “If the department has highlighted this problem, then it is commendable. I myself have heard schools imposing fine and not letting students speak in Punjabi, which is not right for the natural development of students. One will be successful in any field, if he knows his own language. Today, I write in Hindi and English, too, but that has only been possible because I know my mother tongue. So, one should take pride in speaking their mother tongue,” he said.

Shivani Aneja, a mother of a 10-year-old studying at a private school, expressed: “I don’t know why but even I want my daughter to speak in English. It gives a sense of confidence.”

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