Paving the way for the learning of Malayalam in all schools in the state, the Kerala Assembly passed the Malayalam Language (Teaching Act) Bill 2017 on Wednesday. 

The bill makes Malayalam a mandatory subject from Class I to X in all government, aided, unaided and self-financing schools, including those affiliated to CBSE and ICSE. With the enactment of the law, a student, who gets admission in Class I from the next academic year onwards, will pass the SSLC examination 10 years later, only if he or she studies Malayalam throughout the period. 

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Among other things, the bill also makes it clear that no ban should be imposed, directly or indirectly, on students speaking Malayalam in schools. The objective of the bill is to ensure a generation of students who are fluent in Malayalam in the next ten years, the government said. 

However, winding up the discussions on the bill, Kerala education minister C Raveendranath pointed out the government has decided to remove the clause 'compulsory' from the legislation, saying Malayalam won't be imposed on anyone.

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Addressing concerns raised by some MLAs about the bill's impact on schools for linguistic minorities, Raveendranath said the medium of instruction in such schools would continue to be what it was. But now, the schools will also have to teach Malayalam along with the other languages. The SCERT will bring out special Malayalam textbooks for these schools, the minister revealed. 

The bill does provide exemption to students coming from other states and countries. Such students exempted from appearing for the Malayalam examination in Class X but they should still learn the language through books prepared by the SCERT.

(with PTI inputs)