The three-language formula in Indian schools, need not have English as a compulsory language, the options can include three Indian languages in all, Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday.

Under the National Education Policy (NEP), the three-language formula means students in Hindi-speaking states should learn a modern Indian language, apart from Hindi and English, and in non-Hindi-speaking states, they should learn Hindi along with the regional language and English.

The minister made remarks about the formula in the context of promotion of Urdu language in India. He was speaking at the World Urdu Conference organised by National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL).

“People ask me what is three language formula, I tell them, it is a formula for three Indian languages and not foreign language. Its not necessary to chose English as one of the languages, students can chose all three Indian languages also. This is the only way in which regional languages will grow,” said Javadekar.

The minister said that English as a language has taken over all other languages in India, and there is no scope for Indian languages to grow. “We may talk about promotion of various languages like Marathi, Oriya, Gujarati in symposiums but all these languages have been attacked by English language,” he said.

The minister urged NCPUL to produce study material in various subjects in Urdu language so that students who want to pursue studies in Urdu medium are able to do that.

“Other countries like Israel are able to sustain Hebrew because they are publishing text books in their language. NCPUL should also make sure that study material is provided in Urdu for promotion of the language,” said the minister.

NCPUL, however, says that it is not that easy for them to provide study material is schools and colleges in the language. “We are already printing books for schools in Urdu language but the number of books published is not as much as required because we need support from National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) for this purpose and they need to have good translators for this purpose,” said NCPUL Director Syed Ali Karim.

He added that NCPUL is in talks with HRD Ministry for having a plan by which they are able appoint Urdu teachers in states where there are not enough of them.

The three-day World Urdu Conference which is organised every year by NCPUL was meant to deliberate on ways in which the language can be promoted. One of the suggestions included improving the digital presence of Urdu language.