In August, 1949, Provincial Education Ministers Conference passed a Resolution regarding Education through mother tongue. The Resolution states:
"The medium of instruction and examinations at the Junior Basic stage must be the mother tongue of the child."
The Government of India, soon after independence, adopted a definite policy favouring the use of mother tongue at the primary level of education.
Our Constitution has given special importance to primary education through the mother tongue. Article 350(A) of the Constitution spells out:
"It shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the state to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to, children belonging to linguistic minority groups; and the President may issue such directions to any State as he considers necessary or proper for securing the provision of such facilities."
In 1956, a Memorandum of safeguards for linguistic minorities was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Memorandum, making special mention of primary education says:
"The directions which may be issued by the President under Article 350(A) of the Constitution as it is proposed to be enacted into law are likely to be based on the resolution accepted by the Provincial Education Ministers' Conference in August, 1949. The intention is that the arrangements which were generally accepted at this conference should be brought into force in States and Areas where they have not been adopted so far."
The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, in its Press Note issued on July 14, 1958 containing a statement on language, said "facilities should be provided for instruction and examination in the Urdu language at the primary stage to all children whose mother tongue is declared by the parent or guardian to be Urdu."
Provincial Education Ministers' Conference evolved a 10:40 formula in 1949. The formula provides for the appointment of at least one language teacher if the total number of pupils belonging to a linguistic minority is 40 in a school or 10 in a class.
All those witnesses who deposed before Gujral Committee during the year 1972 to 1975, expressed their dissatisfaction over the working of the 10:40 formula and its implementation. Keeping in view the failure of the working of this formula, Gujral Committee recommended that:
(i) where in an urban or rural area, such as village, town or municipal ward, Urdu speakers constitute ten per cent of the total population, at least one Urdu medium primary school should be set up. Wherever necessary,the number of such schools may be increased. These schools should not be exclusively of one medium. Efforts should be made to keep Urdu and non-Urdu medium students at the same school to avoid segregation;
(ii) in areas at the village or the municipal ward level where Urdu speakers form less than ten per cent of the population, there should be provision of an Urdu teacher in such schools as are likely to get a minimum of ten students. This likelihood will be determined on the basis of the population of the children of Urdu speaking persons of school going age in a particular locality; and
(iii) to tide over the immediate difficulty that will arise by a sudden demand for such a large number of teachers, we recommend the appointment of bilingual teachers in the schools mentioned in category (ii) above. The existing staff may also be given incentives to learn Urdu and the incentive may take the form of an allowance or an advance increment or a lumpsum reward. (4.132)
State-wise position of teaching through Urdu medium at primary stage is given below: 124
In Andhra Pradesh, primary education covers class I to V. According to the Government statement, there were, in 1987-88, 1135 Urdu medium primary schools in the state where Urdu medium parallel classes were being run.
The Committee observed that as compared to the figures of the previous year i.e. 1986-87, there has been a decline both in the number of schools as well as students. In that year, the figures of schools was 1141 and of schools with parallel class was 1358 (1986- 87). There is also a fall in the number of students in the same period from 1,59,505 to 1,38,203.
In Bihar, Primary Education covers Classes I to V. The State spokesman apprised this Committee orally that the number of Urdu medium primary schools in their State was 5500.
The Government officers as well as Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu (Bihar) and Urdu representatives informed this Committee that the number of schools in which Urdu was being taught as a subject out-numbered Urdu medium primary schools.
The Convenor of this Sub-Committee wrote to the Education Secretary long before the visit of the Sub-Committee to prepare the statistical data based on the questionnaire, which the convenor sent to him, but the State Government gave the figures orally and did not give anything in writing.
Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities in his report right from 1967-68 to 1984-85 (latest report), has been persistently complaining that Bihar Government does not provide statistical data regarding the number of Urdu medium primary, secondary and higher secondary schools in the state. Many Urdu organisations complained that existing primary schools were not sufficient to cater to the needs of the Urdu Linguistic Minority.
There are 83 Urdu medium Primary Schools run by Delhi Municipal Corporation and 12 run by the New Delhi Municipal Committee. One non- official told us that the number of primary schools is inadequate compared to the population of Urdu speakers in Delhi and New Delhi. It was also brought to the notice of the Committee that there are many pockets where the Urdu speakers are in majority but not a single Urdu medium Urdu Primary school exists in those areas.
In Gujarat State, Primary education covers from Classes I to VII.
Classes VIII, IX and X are included in the Secondary schools, and +2 (i.e. 11th and 12th) are located in High Schools.
There are 29,000 Primary Schools in Gujarat. Among them 161 are Urdu medium schools out of which 92 are in Ahmedabad City alone. Total number of students (boys and girls together) is 48,000.
Looking at the spread of Urdu population, it is evident that more Urdu medium primary schools are required. Urdu medium parallel classes could be opened in Gujarati medium schools. Primary schools are under a statutory body, District Primary Education Committee, under the Panchayat Act. District Primary Education Officer, category is the member secretary of this Committee.
There is only one primary school in Sikwara and it is being run by a private Organisation. Urdu, however, is being taught as subject in 46 primary schools.
There is not a single Urdu medium primary school in Himachal Pradesh.
In Karnataka, Primary education covers Classes I to VII and High School is from classes VIII to X. Plus Two (+2) is Junior College and followed by the University education.
The number of Urdu medium primary schools in the state in 21 districts is 2,853 with 4,62,666 students and 11,136 teachers.
However, the non-officials complained that sufficient number of Urdu medium High Schools were not there. In Bangalore itself there was no Urdu medium High School. The officials claimed that
they had reached saturation point with regard to High Schools. This was contested by non-officials and also the Commission representative.
There was a general demand that Urdu medium pre-primary education should be introduced in Balwadis and Anganwadis teaching in Urdu should be set up where there are primary schools.
It was reported that in the area covered by erstwhile Mysore State, the tendency is to opt for English medium and in the areas added on November 1, 1956, the tendency is to go in for the mother- tongue medium.
Since long, the private schools were eligible for grant-inaid, after completion of three years from date of permission. Currently, as per G.O. No. ED. 87 PGG 85, Bangalore, dated April 18, 1985, the eligibility has been extended to seven years, due to which the minority Urdu institutions are suffering a lot. In the interest of justice to the Urdu minority educational institutions, it is essential that they get the grant-in-aid, at least after completion of three years from the date of permission as it was done in the past, though Gujral Committee had recommended relaxation in the case of Urdu Institutions.
One of the basic issues is that of starting of Urdu Balwadis/Anganwadis and Nursery schools attached to main primary schools in Urdu populated localities in the State. This was promised by the previous Government and a G.O. was also issued to open Urdu Centres of Balwadis/Anganwadis in the state, but it was
not implemented. There is an urgent need to start Urdu Centres of Balwadis/Anganwadis to properly feed the primary schools.
In the State of Maharashtra, the primary education covers classes I to V.
In Maharashtra, there are 2,103 Urdu medium schools and the strength of students is 2,29,439 boys and 2,75,715 girls making a total of 5,05,154 students. The number of teachers is 7,521 male and 7,286 female making a total of 14,807 teachers.
The Elementary schools are managed by Zila Parishads and Municipal Councils. In addition to these Urdu medium schools, the State has parallel Urdu medium classes in Marathi and Hindi schools. The state has in all 291 schools which run parallel Urdu medium classes. In these classes 15,856 boys and 24,232 girls are studying. On behalf of the State Government of Maharashtra, Zila Parishads manage these schools.
Urdu representatives suggested that the minority schools management should be given permission, without undue delay, to open Urdu medium primary, secondary and technical schools on grant-in-aid basis and the schools run by the Urdu Linguistic Minority should be given grant-in-aid on time.
In Rajasthan, primary education covers from Classes I to V.
The spokesman of the Department of Education of Rajasthan was not in a position to furnish the statistical data regarding the number of Urdu medium primary, secondary and higher secondary schools in Rajasthan inspite of the fact that the Convenor of the Sub-Committee had sent in advance a questionnaire to the Department of Education with a request to furnish the data.
Anjuman Tarraqqi Urdu (Rajasthan) conducted an educational survey some time ago. According to the memorandum submitted to the Sub- Committee by the Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu (Rajasthan), there are 150 Urdu primary Government schools in the State out of which only 73 are with Urdu medium and in the rest of the schools, Urdu is being taught as a subject. Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu (Rajasthan) and many other Urdu organisations complained that these facilities are far too inadequate in comparison to Urdu speaking population of Rajasthan.
In Uttar Pradesh, according to the information provided by the officers of the Department of Education, there are 1375 Urdu medium primary schools to serve a population of 10,767,175 Urdu speakers. Obviously, the number of these schools bears no proportion to the population of Urdu speakers of Uttar Pradesh.
These 1375 Urdu medium Primary schools are run by the linguistic minority itself. These schools were previously known as Islamia Primary Schools. Initially these schools were given a partial grant. Presently, they are fully financed by the State Government and are known as Urdu Medium Primary Schools.
It was complained by the witnesses that before 1962 the number of these schools was four times their present strength. It was also alleged that because of the discouragement, discrimination and hostile attitude against Urdu medium schools, the number of these schools gradually declined every year.
According to the 24th report by Deputy Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities the number of Urdu medium primary schools was 1778 in 1983-84, which indicates that there is a decrease of 205 schools inspite of the fact that the population of Urdu speakers has increased in the meantime.
The State Government spokesman informed the Sub-Committee orally that Urdu was being taught as a language subject in 4453 primary schools. However, the Deputy Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities in his report, gives the number of such schools as 3690. This indicates an upward trend.
Regarding these schools Government claims that in every primary school, run by Nagar Palika, one Urdu teacher had been appointed. On the contrary, Urdu representatives complained that there was still a large number of schools where no Urdu teacher had been appointed. Following complaints were also made by Urdu representatives in respect of these schools:
(i) the Urdu period is not shown in the school time- table. The result is that in most of the schools there are Urdu teachers but they do not find time to teach Urdu and teachers are not willing to teach after school hours;
(ii) the marks secured in Urdu are not added to the aggregate, which makes the students non-serious about Urdu subject; and
(iii) curriculum for Primary Schools, prepared by the Department of Education, does not include the syllabus of Urdu.
In response to a question by a member of this Sub-Committee regarding 10:40 formula, a spokesman of the Department of Education told that whenever there were a minimum of 10 students in a class and 40 in the school, arrangements for teaching Urdu as a subject were made. When the spokesman was told that 10:40 formula was modified by Gujral Committee which recommended a provision of atleast one Urdu medium school in areas where Urdu speaking population was 10% and in areas where Urdu speakers from less than 10% of the population there should be provision of an Urdu teacher in such schools as are likely to get a minimum of 10 students, the officer concerned expressed ignorance of this.
In the state of West Bengal, Primary education covers classes I to V. State Government spokesman informed the SubCommittee that Primary Education was being imparted through the
students' mother tongue. According to the spokesman, the students whose mother tongue is Urdu, have been provided all necessary facilities to get their education in Urdu. There are 220 Urdu medium primary schools in the State. These schools are being run by the District Schools Board in the rural areas, and by the Municipality and District School Boards in the urban areas. Besides, there is a large number of Urdu medium primary schools and Madarasas, which are recognised and fully financed by the State Government. The Government officers were not, however, in a position to specify the number of such schools.
It was complained in a memorandum, submitted by Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu (West Bengal) to this Sub-Committee, that 45 unrecognised Urdu medium primary schools were trying to get the recognition since long. All Bengal Urdu Primary Teacher's Association also submitted a memorandum to this Sub-Committee in which it was complained that in addition to these 45 unrecognised schools there were quite a number of schools which were also unrecognised. It is demanded by these organisations that West Bengal Urdu Academy should give at least Rs. 300/- per month to each teacher working in these unrecognised schools, till the time the schools are recognised by the Government.