West Bengal State government has made Bengali mandatory in all schools, including private English medium schools. Henceforth, it would be compulsory for all schools including English medium schools affiliated to boards other than West Bengal Board of Secondary Education to teach Bengali as an optional subject from Class I so that students can study it either as a second or third language.
At present, teaching of Bengali is not mandatory in the schools. Apart from Bengali, English and Hindi, students can opt for other languages such as Urdu, Gurumukhi, Nepali and Ol-chiki as the medium of instruction in schools of the State.
The decision of the West Bengal government making Bengali compulsory in schools comes at the backdrop of Kerala government’s recent promulgation of an ordinance in April making Teaching of Malayalam compulsory in all schools of Kerala.
Earlier, the Left Front government had abolished teaching of English in primary sections of West Bengal in 1984. But teaching of English was reintroduced in 1992 to Class V, in 1998 to Class III and finally in 2003 to all classes from Class I onwards.