“A choice of foreign language(s) (e.g. French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese) would be offered and made available to students interested in choosing as option(s) during secondary school,” the draft policy document, released in 2019, had said.
In the final version, this sentence was replaced by:
“In addition to high-quality offerings in Indian languages and English, foreign languages, such as Korean, Japanese, Thai, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian, will also be offered. at the secondary level.”
Senior officials said The Hindu that joint consultations between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on the matter have been ongoing for over a year.
Speaking to the publication, Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare said the list was only an example list and not an exhaustive list of all allowed languages. Schools are free to offer other languages, he said.
The report further mentions that the government has “security concerns” regarding the use of Mandarin as the language of instruction in Indian educational institutions.
The apparent omission of Mandarin can be seen against the backdrop of growing tensions between India and China along the two countries’ border.