Thursday September 19, 2019

Anticipated implementation of ‘three-language formula’ to open gates for Sanskrit learners

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Image source: photodivision.gov.in

Chennai: The Ministry of Human Resource Development, around three months ago, constituted a 13-member expert committee, with former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami as its head. The core agenda of committee was to suggest measures to integrate the study of Sanskrit with subjects such as Mathematics, Science and Law.

The committee suggested setting up of an independent Sanskrit cell in country’s premier institutions while making a ‘three-language formula’ mandatory for all schools.

Tabled by the committee on 4 February, the report according to Gopalaswami contains suggestions which if implemented, would open up avenues for students, who want to pursue Sanskrit.

The final decision on implementing the suggestions is expected to be taken by HRD Minister Smriti Irani shortly.

Clarifying contrary reports which announced the committee’s decision to make Sanskrit a mandatory subject, Gopalaswami clarified in an interaction with reporters that it is not true since nobody is forcing them to opt for the ancient language.

“All we have said is that there should be an option made available for students so that those wishing to learn Sanskrit can opt for it,” he asserted.

Under the two-language policy, Gopalaswami feels students who desire to learn Sanskrit are faced with the dilemma of choice. He said, “This is because they are forced to learn English and the native language (mother tongue), meaning even if they want to learn Sanskrit, they are not able to.”

Gopalaswami told about the flexibility of the three-language policy under which students can choose among a plethora of languages. He said, “In the report, we have made it clear that the option must be made available for eight scheduled languages and the students can, in turn, decide the three languages they wish to opt for.”

He stated about the abundance of information pertaining to medicine, architecture, science and technology available in Sanskrit, which could only be understood if the language is learnt first.

If you close your eyes, it doesn’t mean that light is non-existent. All the knowledge in Sanskrit texts has been existing for ages and there is a dire need to comprehend them and use them for the collective welfare of the nation,” he said, reiterating, “The suggestions are only for those with an inclination to learn Sanskrit and there is no compulsion on anyone to opt for the language against one’s choice.”

Since a huge amount of informational material is available in Sanskrit, Gopalaswami believes that implementation of the report will bring a positive impact in the educational system, beneficial for the common welfare of the people.

“Otherwise, somebody else will do it and you will start running behind,” he added.

Stating the report’s purpose, Gopalaswami further said that establishing a Sanskrit cell in premier institutions of the country, including the IITs and IIMs, is a significant step in opening up a platform for those willing to research in the ancient language. (Inputs from newstodaynet.com)

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Indian Government Spent Nearly Rs 4Kcr on Swachh Bharat Info, Education

“The Swachh Bharat mission can serve as a model for other countries around the world that urgently need to improve access to sanitation for the world’s poorest."

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swachhata abhiyan
The government's much publicised Swachh Bharat Mission -- which aims to enhance the level of sanitation in India and make the country open defecation free (ODF). Flickr

To make the Swachh Bharat Mission a success, India mobilised huge resources for information, education and communication (IEC) activities, with a new report estimating that the cash expenditure by the government, private sector, and the development community to be between Rs 3,500-4,000 crore in five years since the programme’s launch.

Of this cash spend, around 20 per cent was spent by the erstwhile Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, around 35 per cent by the state sanitation departments, around 25 per cent by other government ministries, and around 20 per cent by the private sector and the development sector collectively, said the report by consultancy firm Dalberg Advisors.

Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, the government has shown remarkable ability to leverage resources across the public sector, private sector, media, and civil society, to make sanitation a mass movement in India.

In fact, the study estimates that the Swachh Bharat Mission mobilised a spend equivalent worth Rs 22,000-Rs 26,000 crore in monetary and non-monetary information, education and communication activities.

The researchers reached this figure by identifying the key activities and costs by different actors, modelling the number of “exposures” created, and estimating the investment required if the government were to “buy” these exposures in an efficient market.

An average person living in rural India was exposed to between 2,500-3,300 SBM related messages over the last five years, according to the study titled “An assessment of the reach and value of IEC activities under Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen)”.

Young Indians
Young Indians want to strengthen the ‘Swachh Bharat’ initiative. Wikimedia Commons

A large majority of these messages were routed via newly constructed toilets, mass media, and the

Swachh Bharat logo. Other significant contributors included ambient media such as wall murals and hoardings, and other conventional channels such as inter-personal communication (IPC), digital media, and cinema.

Since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014, over 10 crore households toilets have been built in the country, leading to a significant improvement in sanitation coverage and reduction in open defecation.

Since 2014, engagement from the top political and government leadership, especially the Prime Minister, induced catalytic participation across segments, giving the cause of sanitation consistent attention and focus.

This translated into a mission mode approach where a range of government ministries, private sector organisations, the philanthropic ecosystem, civil society, and the media and entertainment sector participated to bring sanitation messaging and awareness to citizens at significant scale.

Also Read: Motorola Launches its First Smart TV in India

When Modi visits the US later this month, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will honour the success of Swachh Bharat that has transformed lives around the country.

“Globally, sanitation-related diseases kill nearly 500,000 children under the age of five every year. Yet despite its importance, sanitation has not received significant attention. A lot of governments are not willing to talk about it, in part because there are not easy solutions.

Before the Swachh Bharat mission, over 500 million people in India did not have access to safe sanitation, and now, the majority do. There is still a long way to go, but the impacts of access to sanitation in India are already being realised,” the Gates Foundation said in a statement.

“The Swachh Bharat mission can serve as a model for other countries around the world that urgently need to improve access to sanitation for the world’s poorest.” (IANS)