The invisible

Nepal Sanskrit University, which has often been criticised for neglecting languages other than Sanskrit, is planning to teach three additional national languages. In the first phase, the University plans to introduce Newari, Rai and Tharu languages and is learnt to be in the hunt for literature belonging to these languages. The University is reported to have asked the government for additional funds and resources to be able to impart education in as many national languages as possible in the future. This initiative, the University expects, would serve the national aim of promoting all the national languages.

Though the Interim Constitution of Nepal permits the use of mother tongue to impart education up to the primary level, and more recently, as the issue has led to national debate, the decision of the Sanskrit University appears to be in line with the sentiment of various linguistic groups across the country. On the other hand, despite constitutional guarantees, primary schools have hardly ever exercised the constitutional freedom to impart education in the local languages. Local communities should encourage the use of local languages in schools. But at the same time, students must not be deprived of the knowledge of other important languages and subjects, because without this, they would be invisible on the national as well as the global stage.