Every student in West Bengal schools, irrespective of his/her board or mother tongue, will have to study Bengali as a compulsary subject from Class I to X.  “From now on, it will be compulsory for students to learn Bengali in schools. English medium schools will have to make Bengali an optional subject from Class I so that the students can study it either as a second or third language,” Education Minister Partha Chatterjee announced on Monday.

So far students studied two languages from Class I to VI- which was usually their mother tongue and English. From Class VII, they opted for the third language -which could be Indian and foreign. The latest diktat by the state government will make Bengali compulsory for students of state boards as well as those of CBSE and ICSE.

Mamata Banerjee government’s decision comes close on the heels of Centre’s move making Hindi compulsory for all CBSE and ICSE schools from Class I to X. Underlining that India’s strength lies in unity and diversity, Chatterjee said that we have received complaints that Bengali is not provided as an option in several schools.”

“If a student selects either Bengali or Hindi or English or Gurumukhi or Urdu or Nepali as his first language, he will have to select two other languages, one of which has to be Bengali. With Bengali selected as one of the languages, the student will have the freedom to choose any other languages as the remaining two languages,” India Express quoted Chatterjee as saying.