A language is an essential tool for communication purposes. It is used for promoting peace and order in society. It is used for displaying authority and power, and for the obtainment of goals and objectives. However, language can also be destructive to society if it is used inappropriately. Language must be used following the conformity that governs the society so that conflicts can be avoided and the boundary of individual differences can be met. According to the framework of NCERT (2005),
“English in India today is a symbol of people’s aspirations for quality in education and fuller participation in national and international life … The level of introduction of English has now become a matter of political response to people’s aspirations, rendering almost irrelevant an academic debate on the merits of a very early introduction.”
Language occupies a very important position in Indian education and it is taught as a school subject too.
According to Graddol (2010),
“Throughout India, there is an extraordinary belief, among almost all castes and classes, in both rural and urban areas, in the transformative power of English. English is seen not just as a useful skill, but as a symbol of a better life, a pathway out of poverty and oppression.”
He further added,
“The challenges of providing universal access to English are signiﬁcant, and many are bound to feel frustrated at the speed of progress. But we cannot ignore the way that the English language has emerged as a powerful agent for change in India.”
The national language policy for school education, the three-language formula recommended by the National Commission on Education 1964–1966, was incorporated into the national education policies of 1968 and 1986.
Language Policy in Education
The language policy in Indian education is still something that is in progress. The three-language formula was introduced as a policy to safeguard national and regional interests. The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) also raised some serious concerns about language such as the number of languages that need to be taught, the role of Hindi and English, the teaching of Sanskrit, and more. In 1961, the Conference of Chief Ministers simplified the three-language formula and approved the following:
1. The regional language must be used when it is different from the mother tongue.
2. Hindi must be used in Hindi-speaking areas and other Indian languages in non-Hindi-speaking areas.
3. English or some other common European language can be used.
Language is important for instructing in schools and academic institutes for giving education its real meaning. There are many roles that are to be played by the role of language in education. These are as follows:
- Language is the main means of human communication and building relations.
- The first step towards creating a society is through communication. To communicate, a common language is needed. In the absence of language, human beings cannot relate to and understand each other.
- Through communication, relationships are built, and families are built.
- With the help of language in education, the community grows into a bigger society and nation.
Hence, language is essential for society and vice versa.