The NEP Committee headed by ISRO chief K Kasturirangan has recommended in the draft NEP, “Sanskrit will be offered at all levels of school and higher education as one of the optional languages on par with all Schedule 8 languages. Sanskrit textbooks at the Foundational and Middle school level may be rewritten in Simple Standard Sanskrit (SSS) in order to teach Sanskrit through Sanskrit (STS) and make its study truly enjoyable.”
According to the committee of experts, Sanskrit (and Prakrit) has played a great role in the Indian tradition of the quest for knowledge, including the study of the 64 kalas or liberal arts and hence has recommended the study of Sanskrit and knowledge of its extensive literature.
The draft read: “Considering the special importance of Sanskrit to the growth and development of Indian languages, and its unique contribution to knowledge development in as well as the cultural unity of the country, facilities for the study of Sanskrit, its scientific nature, and including samplings of diverse ancient and medieval writings in Sanskrit from a diverse set of authors like the plays of Kalidasa and Bhasa, will be made widely available in schools and higher educational institutions.”
It has emphasized: “Where relevant, history-changing Sanskrit writings will be integrated suitably in various school subjects as well as in literature and writing classes like Bhaskara’s poems on mathematics and puzzles that help to make the study of mathematics more engaging, the incorporation of relevant Panchatantra stories in ethics classes, etc.”
Make courses on all classical languages of India available:
In addition to Sanskrit, the teaching of other classical languages and literature of India, including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Pali, Persian, and Prakrit has also been recommended for ensuring that these languages and literature stay alive and vibrant, especially in states where they may be best taught and nurtured.
“Classical writings in these and other languages across India from diverse sets of authors will also be studied and suitably incorporated throughout the curriculum and in literature and writing classes to inspire students with the rich long-standing traditions and writings of India,”
For instance Sangam poetry in classical Tamil, the Jataka tales in Pali, the works of Sarala Dasa in classical Odia, excerpts from Raghavanka’s epic Harishchandra Kavya in Kannada, Amir Khusro’s works in Persian, Kabir’s poems in Hindi.
The proposal to teach classical languages aims at enrichment of children and preservation of these rich languages and their artistic treasures. All students in all schools, public or private, will take at least two years of a classical language of India in Grades 6-8, with the option to continue through secondary education and university.
The Committee has recommended to make such courses in classical languages more enjoyable and relevant.
For the students who may opt for Sanskrit as one of their chosen languages in the three-language formula “may instead take an additional modern or classical Indian language or literature class for two years in lieu of the classical language requirement,” said the draft explaining, “for example, students in Hindi-speaking States who are taking Hindi, Sanskrit, and English as their three languages could take two years of a language from another part of India like Tamil in order to satisfy this language requirement.”
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