West Bengal will make it mandatory for students to learn Bengali in schools, including those affiliated to ICSE and CBSE, state Education minister has said.
"From now on, it will be mandatory for students to learn Bengali in schools. The schools affiliated to other boards (ICSE/CBSE) will have to make Bengali as an optional subject from class 1, giving students the option to choose it either as second or third language", Partha Chatterjee told a press meet here yesterday.
Chatterjee said, "If a student selects either Hindi or English or Gurumukhi or Urdu or Ol Chiki or Nepali as his first language, he needs to pick up two other languages and one of these two languages should be Bengali.".
"With Bengali selected as one of the two languages, the student will have the liberty to choose from any other listed languages as the remaining two", he said.
The minister said the decision was prompted following a feedback that Bengali was not being offered as an option in many schools.
"We will take into account the legal aspect as to whether a separate legislation is needed or a state cabinet decision will be enough," he added.
Welcoming the move, noted historian and writer Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri said, "Why will our children not know Bengali? It is a fact that students in many schools do not have Bengali in their curriculum. The state's initiative is laudable.