A language is a means of communication. The language spoken by a mother when her child plays in her lap is known as Mother Language or Mother Tongue. Mother is deemed as the first teacher of a child and what she teaches or shares with a child makes first impressions on the clean slate. A child is sent to school for getting formal education. Many students get on well, and some fail to cope with the new environment. This is the reason why schools organize welcome programs at the time of opening after breaks, and for new admissions. National survey reports have shown that a sizeable number of students, despite spending years in schools are not able to read or write, not to speak of Mathematics. The experts and policy makers have identified this lacuna, which is a big hurdle in the universalization of elementary education. It has been realized that language variant existing between a teacher and a student can be a valid reason for this. This led to identification of the pivotal role of Mother Tongue in teaching-learning process. It least matters for a child how beautiful the other languages are, but mother tongue always touches the heart. It is in this perspective that NEP- 2020 has made it mandatory to teach Primary level students in their Mother Tongue.
National curriculum framework (NCF—2005), a guiding force for curricular activities has in the guidelines made it clear that there shall be a child centered approach and not a teacher centered approach as was in vogue. The responsibility of a teacher has increased, as the teacher has to see and find, what way the child wants to learn. The child must feel freedom of thought and action during teaching-learning process. The focus has shifted to meet needs, and interests of every child. The onus lies on both the government and the teacher. The active involvement of a child in the teaching-learning process is much needed step to explore the student’s endowments. It is the teacher who can unfold what is hidden in the gem. Mother tongue is the best medium in which a child can give vent to his innate thoughts.
Based on speaking a particular language many states/UTs in India have their own identities because of that language. Likewise Kashmiri speaking people are known as Kashmiris. Kashmiri is the official language of Jammu and Kashmir besides few other languages. This language is also one among the scheduled languages of India. Mother Tongue Day was celebrated in the world on 21-2-2021. In India every linguistic identity celebrated the day.The day was celebrated here officially at district headquarters. The irony is that the banners and sign boards were Hindi words written either in Urdu or in English script.
The J&K BOSE and SCERT have important responsibility of preparation of books in all subjects up to 5th Standard in Kashmiri. The State Council of Educational Research and Training has to prepare content material for all classes. The New Education Policy envisages on incorporating local, relevant and region specific learning content so that students of a particular age group finds it easy to understand and progress. Moreover, the teachers teaching at different levels need to be trained so that there shall be a paradigm shift in their attitudes before implementing NEP- 2020. The government seems not serious enough towards this important sector. The most glaring example of government apathy can be understood by its failure to appoint Director SCERT for last six months. A full fledged, but a dynamic, Director has to lay the sound foundations of a newly created SCERT. The SCERT had to reorganize the DIETs and Divisional offices according to new scheme by March 2021, but in the absence of necessary impetus no progress on that account is visible. This will indeed hamper the timely implementation of New Education Policy.
Mir Mohammad Gulzar Former Principal DIET