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Three Language Formula: A Pedagogical Problem in education

The new National Education Policy (NEP) states that the home language, mother tongue, local language, or regional language will, whenever possible, be the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably until Grade 8 and beyond, in a section titled "Multilingualism, and Power of Language."

Following that, whenever possible, the native or home tongue will be taught in class. Private and public schools will both implement this. Do not worry, though! Your child's English-medium school isn't switching to regional language textbooks.

Three language Formula


In 1968, the administration of Indira Gandhi included it for the first time in the National Education Policy.


In Hindi-speaking states – English, Hindi, and a modern Indian language


Non-Hindi speaking states – English, Hindi, and one Indian language


It was adopted due to the country's uneven distribution of the educational system among various regions. Additionally, regional languages and English were the primary languages of education outside of the north, where Hindi served as the primary language of instruction. It creates turmoil, though, and makes interstate communication impossible.


The three-language system was designed to accommodate group identity, affirm national unity, and improve administrative effectiveness. Except for Tamil Nadu, which selected a two-language strategy, the country as a whole embraced the three-language formula in 1968. Interestingly, the NPE of 1986 reproduced identically the policies of 1968 on the promotion of Hindi and the use of the three-language formula.



Three-language formula in education

The Three Language Formula's development


Because education is a state topic, it was up to the states to put the formula into practice. Only a small number of states actually implemented the formula. Sanskrit replaced any modern language, mostly in the south Indian language, as the third language in a number of Hindi-speaking states.

The three-language formula's intention to encourage interstate communication was thus undermined. Additionally, a state like Tamil Nadu, which does not speak Hindi, adopted a two-language strategy instead of using the three-language approach. Since then, Tamil Nadu's two-language policy has been successful. One of the two languages is English, and the other is Tamil.


NEP 2020's Three-Language Formula


  • The three-language formula will continue to be used to foster multilingualism and national cohesion.

  • As a medium of instruction: Whenever possible, the home language, mother tongue, local language, or regional language will be used until at least Grade 5, but preferably until Grade 8 and beyond.

  • The NEP claims that the three-language model will be more flexible. But no state will be forced to use any particular language.

  • As long as at least two of the three languages are indigenous to India, States, regions, and students themselves will be free to choose whether to learn three languages.

The three-language system will continue to be used in classrooms "with greater flexibility," but "no language will be imposed on any state," according to the HRD Ministry of Education.


A lack of uniformity in how it is implemented

three-language formula in education

The National Education Policy first included the three-language formula, which was developed by the central government in 1968. The program's goal was to encourage pupils to study more languages.


Only in 1992, after 1968, was the policy changed.


The formula was put into place nationwide in 1968, with the exception of Tamil Nadu, which had a two-language policy.


The formula, which was initially put into place by the Indira Gandhi administration in 1968, required that students from Hindi-speaking states study English, Hindi, and one modern Indian language, while students from non-Hindi-speaking states were also required to study Hindi, English, and one Indian language. Its implementation, nevertheless, varied considerably across the nation.



Why does Tamil Nadu have a long history of opposing Hindi?



three-language formula in education

1. There is a deeply held idea in some sectors of society that efforts to impose Hindi will finally result in the abolition of English, the international language. 2. The effort to keep English alive is a key component of Tamil Nadu residents' opposition to the imposition of Hindi. 3. In addition to being the language of empowerment and knowledge, English is viewed as a defense against Hindi. 4. Political leaders and members of civil society in the state speak out strongly to defend language as the means of culture. Any attempt to downplay the significance of Tamil is seen as a move toward cultural homogenization. 5. The State has never placed restrictions on the voluntary study of Hind, though. This is demonstrated by the support for Chennai-based Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, which was founded 102 years ago.

NEP 2020 criticism pertaining to language

The present proposal suggests the introduction of languages at the primary level itself, in contrast to the prior strategy. This is contested on the grounds that requiring young children to acquire languages will be cognitively taxing for them.

1. Discrimination in Funding:

The Centre has allocated 50 crores for Hindi's development, but no other languages have received the same amount.

2. Lack of Non-Hindi Professors:

A number of linguists and educators warned that this decision will eventually result in children being forced to learn Hindi due to a lack of non-Hindi teachers.

3. Back Door Entry for Hindi:

Tamil Nadu, a state with a two-language policy, opposes the three-language policy's continuation because they believe it will eventually open the door for Hindi to enter the state covertly. Even if everyone has good intentions, the existing environment makes it difficult to really implement the three-language formula. Furthermore, maintaining national peace has not been hampered by the two-language formulas, or a subpar version of the three-language formula.


The purpose of the three-language formula is to bridge the linguistic divide between the states and promote national unity. The ethnic diversity of India can be included in other ways as well, though.











though! Your child's English-medium school isn't switching to regional language textbooks.

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