English to not be mandatory in Class 11 and 12; categorized as ‘Foreign Language’ in Maharashtra

English to not be mandatory in Class 11 and 12; categorized as 'Foreign Language' in Maharashtra

English to not be mandatory in Class 11 and 12; categorized as 'Foreign Language' in Maharashtra

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In a significant shift, the Maharashtra State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) has recommended that English be categorized as a ‘foreign language’ and not be compulsory for Junior College (JC) students (Classes 11 and 12). This proposal is part of the draft State Curriculum Framework (SCF) for School Education, spanning Class 3 to Class 12, released on Wednesday.

Key recommendations of the SCF:

English as a Foreign Language: English will be treated as a foreign language at the JC level, breaking away from the long-standing practice of making it mandatory in Maharashtra.

Subject selection flexibility: Students can choose eight subjects, including two languages (one of which must be of Indian origin), environmental and physical education, and four subjects of their choice. This approach aims to phase out stream-specific (Arts, Commerce, Science) learning.

Language chart: The SCF’s language chart lists 17 native Indian languages and nine foreign languages, with English topping the list of foreign languages.

Curriculum goals:

The SCF aims to modernize and diversify the educational framework by offering greater flexibility in subject selection and reducing the rigid stream-specific system. This move is intended to provide a more holistic and inclusive education, accommodating a variety of linguistic backgrounds and promoting multilingual proficiency.

Implications:

This change reflects a broader vision to adapt educational policies to contemporary needs, allowing students to tailor their learning experiences more closely to their interests and career goals. However, it also raises questions about the role of English in higher education and global communication, given its widespread use and importance.

Public feedback:

SCERT has opened the draft for public suggestions until June 3, encouraging feedback from citizens to refine and finalize the curriculum framework. This participatory approach aims to ensure the new policies align with the needs and aspirations of the state’s diverse population.

This move marks a pivotal moment in Maharashtra’s educational policy, potentially setting a precedent for other states to reevaluate the role of English and other languages in their curricula.