With an eye on the job market, India's premier school board is set to introduce from the new academic year Japanese as an optional language course from Class VI to VIII. According to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the move will help students in more than one way.
"In this age of globalization, learning foreign languages has become a necessary tool to broaden the horizons and gain a better understanding of other cultures," a CBSE announcement said.
Advertisement"Foreign languages have been a part of the curriculum in Indian schools, but for the first time a language of an East Asian country is set to be a part of the school curriculum.
"The successful partnership between the industries of India and Japan has further opened up tremendous job opportunities for Indian youth armed with the knowledge of the Japanese language," the statement added.
It says that relations between countries cannot be sustained on economic terms alone.
It is the people-to-people contact that works as a catalyst in building trust, and to achieve this, "it is imperative that our school children be given an opportunity to learn Japanese".
However, board officials said that the schools interested in offering this course would have to bear the responsibility of recruiting specialized Japanese language teachers.
"The board may provide only short-term teacher training courses as a supporting strategy," said Rama Sharma, the chief information officer of the CBSE.
"It's a fresh development and as soon as the new academic year starts, the schools that show interest would be extended all necessary cooperation," Sharma told IANS.
To make the task of learning the language easier, the board will not make the Japanese script mandatory for students of the sixth standard.
The text will be written in Roman letters though the Japanese script will be supplemented for the purpose of recognition.