Webinar on ‘International Mother Language Day’
Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the Webinar on the occasion of ‘International Mother Language Day’ on 21 February. The Webinar on ‘Fostering Multilingualism for Inclusion in Education and Society’ is being organised jointly by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture and IGNCA. The Vice President also inaugurated the International Virtual Calligraphy Exhibition. The Vice President, M Venkaiah Naidu called for making mother tongue the primary medium of instruction, at least until Grade 5. He suggested that educating a child in a language that is not spoken at home can be a big impediment to learning especially at the primary stage. Referring to multiple studies, Shri Naidu said that teaching through the mother tongue in the initial stages of education can boost a child’s self-esteem and enhance his or her creativity. Calling the New Education Policy a visionary and progressive document, he urged for implementing the Policy in letter and spirit.
Speaking at the inaugural session, the Vice President focused on five key sectors to promote the use of mother tongue. Apart from emphasizing the use of mother tongue in primary education, the other highlighted areas are the use of local languages in administration, court proceedings and to deliver judgments in them. He also wanted gradual increase in the use of indigenous languages in higher and technical education. The final emphasis was on everyone to proudly and preferably use their mother tongue in their homes.
Venkaiah Naidu said that with hundreds of languages coexisting, linguistic diversity is one of the cornerstones of our ancient civilization. Observing how our mother tongues can evoke an emotional response in the people, Shri Naidu called them an ‘important link to our socio-cultural identity’, ‘a repository of our collective knowledge and wisdom’ and thus needs to be protected, preserved and promoted.
On this occasion, Naidu appreciated various government initiatives for a multilingual society such as the National Translation Mission, the Bharatavani project and the proposed setting up of a Bharatiya Bhasha Vishwavidyalaya (BBV) and Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITT).
In conclusion, the Vice President reiterated that languages are nourished only by constant use and that every day must be a Matribhasha Diwas. He called for all-round commitment and efforts to reclaim mother tongues and to ‘feel proud to speak freely and confidently in one’s mother tongue’ in homes, community, meetings, and administration.