Exam numbers show TN parents keen on kids learning Hindi
Political parties in Tamil Nadu may oppose implementation of the three-language formula in schools on the grounds of Hindi imposition, but ground level trends seems indicate the opposite. The number of school students, who appear for the Hindi exams conducted by the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha (DBHPS), are constantly rising.
"During the past five years, the number of students who appear in our exams runs into lakhs and the number is steadily increasing. In 2014, approximately 4.90 lakh students appeared for the exams.
"In 2015, the number went up to 5.23 lakh, 5.53 lakh in 2016, 5.74 lakh in 2017, 5.80 lakh in 2018 and in 2019 the expected number is about 6.00 lakh," S. Jeyaraj, General Secretary, DBHPS, told IANS on Saturday.
"We hold exams in February and August. This February, about 3.90 lakh students wrote the exams. If one takes into account the expected number of students who would appear in August, the total number is expected to touch about 6 lakh this year," Jeyaraj added.
According to him, almost all of them are school students while only a negligible percentage are from other segments.
The DBHPS, an institution of national importance, was established in 1918 by Mahatma Gandhi with the aim of propagating Hindi in the southern states. The first Hindi class was taken by Gandhi's son Devadas.
In 1927, DBHPS emerged as an independent organisation with Mahatma Gandhi as its President until his death.
In 1964, Parliament passed an Act designating DBHPS as an institution of national importance that can award degrees and diplomas.
According to Jeyaraj, the major driver for the increasing number of students is the parents' desire that their children should learn Hindi so that they can take up a job in other parts of the country if need be.
"Even mothers of small children attend classes along with their children or alone so as to teach their kids," he added.
But it was not the case a few years ago when Doordarshan (DD) was the only television channel that was available in this part of the country.
"Then people came here to learn Hindi so that they can watch Hindi movies and serials shown on DD. Those were the days when Ramayana and Mahabharata were shown on DD. However, with the advent of regional television channels, the importance of Hindi for entertainment purpose waned," Jeyaraj said.
Tamil Nadu (including Puducherry) ranks first in terms of the number of students for DBHPS followed by Andhra Pradesh, Telungana, Karnataka and Kerala, according to Jeyaraj.
The DBHPS conducts exams titled Parichaya, Prathamik, Madhyama, Rashtrabhasha, Praveshika, Rashtrabhasha Visharad, Rashtrabhasha Praveen, and Nishnath.
According to Jeyaraj, the pass certificate issued by DBHPS to students is an additional qualification.
The DBHPS is an autonomous body and meets its revenue needs from exam fees and sale of books.
The organisation, which is celebrating its centenary year, also runs a school under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) stream. About 820 students study in the school.
Jeyaraj replied in the negative about a threat to DBHPS if the three-language formula is implemented in Tamil Nadu.
"There will always be a demand to learn the language. Further we also conduct diploma and degree courses," he added. IANS