Three-language formula by CBSE worries parents in UAE

Image Courtesy Khaleej Times

The new proposal to introduce a compulsory three-language system in Indian schools by the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) is worrying UAE parents.

If the proposal is approved by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, India it could mean that starting 2020, Hindi will become a compulsory language in all CBSE schools from grade 9 onwards, academics and principals told Khaleej Times.

Currently, the CBSE curriculum students in the GCC countries learn English and Arabic as compulsory languages. Hindi is compulsory only till Grade 8. But from grade 9 onwards, students have the choice to drop Hindi and instead opt for a foreign language like French, German or Special Arabic as per the offering in their respective schools.

Through the three-language formula, the CBSE insists that the third language should be an Indian language and not any foreign subjects.

“Why do they want to take away that choice from students in higher grades?,” asked a frustrated parent, Preeti Murali, whose son is in grade eight. “My son opted for special Arabic instead of Hindi since last year. It will be frustrating if he has to switch to Hindi again from next year,” said the parent.

Hareesh N, another Indian parent whose son is currently studying French instead of Hindi said it is unfair to force a language on students. “My son wants to pursue the science stream. So why should he spend so much time battling a language, which is academically of no interest to him?” asked the parent.

A senior school principal in Dubai said as of now, the only official reference from CBSE regarding the three language formula is in their circular dated 31.1.2017 (Circular No. ACAD-05/2017), announcing compulsory board exams in Grade 10 starting this year.

“In this circular, the subjects offered till Grade 10 are Language1, Language2, Science, Mathematics, Social Science and Sixth Additional subject. Under the sixth additional subject it was mentioned that in case student opts for a language as sixth additional subject, the modalities defined for languages 1 & 2 shall be followed,” said the principal.

“At this point we can only assume that Language 1 and Language 2 are English and Hindi. As Arabic is compulsory as per the Adec (Abu Dhabi Education Council) regulations, these three language studies are expected to remain so in all UAE schools,” said the principal.

On the other hand for the CBSE students in India, the board insists that the third language should be an Indian language and not the popular foreign languages like French or German that many students pursue from Grade 9 onwards. Foreign language will be treated like an elective fourth subject under the new format.

Abu Dhabi Indian School Principal Neeraj Bhargava said as CBSE students in the UAE are already learning three languages – English, Hindi and compulsory Arabic, introduction of another Indian language is not expected.

“As far as I know, the board will have a different approach to UAE schools and Arabic will be counted in as a third language,” said Bhargava.

Rishikesh Padegaonkar, Principal of Bright Riders School in Abu Dhabi said, the compulsory Hindi will not affect his students. “We do not have any other subject offering in the school except Hindi. So my students and parents have no reason to worry,” said Padegaonkar.


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