Referring to the importance given to local languages in the new National Education Policy (NEP) by the Centre, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday stressed that all languages of the country are national languages and none is inferior to Hindi or English."All languages are national languages, be it Gujarati, Tamil, Bengali, or Marathi. No language is inferior to Hindi or English because each language has its own importance. That is why we have given importance to local languages in our new NEP," Pradhan said in his inaugural speech. Pradhan was addressing the two-day National Education Ministers' Conference at Mahatma Mandir at Gujrat.
.While noting that nearly 20 percent of the population of India does not fall into the definition of "literacy", Pradhan urged participants to discuss the issue at the conference. Education ministers of all the states and Union Territories are participating in the conference, with the focus being on the implementation of the new NEP, he said. "We know that some states disagree with the new NEP but the Centre does not have any issue with that, because we know whatever you have thought (other than what is prescribed in NEP) will be in the interest of the people and we will accept that too," said Pradhan.
The minister also sought "active participation" of all states in developing 'Curriculum Frameworks. "We need to free our education from colonial influence. This is the time of decolonization of our education. We all need to change our mindsets. In the 21st century, we need to create a knowledge-based India and school education will serve as the base for it," said Pradhan. On the occasion, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said the state has taken a lead in implementing the new NEP, adding that nearly 15,000 government-run schools will be developed under the 'Mission School of Excellence'.
Among others, Goa CM Pramod Samant, who handles the education portfolio, Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia and Union MoS for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajeev Chandrasekhar attended the conference.