West Bengal government on Monday made Bengali mandatory till Class 10 in schools across the state. Irrespective of their mother tongue and boards, students have to compulsorily study three languages from Class I to Class X, and one of them has to be Bengali.

Education Minister of the state, Partha Chatterjee said, “Students will now have the freedom to choose their first, second and third languages. If a student selects either Bengali or Hindi or English or Gurumukhi or Urdu or Nepali or Ol Chiki 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 of the other languages as the remaining two languages,”

This decision has been taken up by the Bengal government a few days after the Centre made Hindi compulsory for all CBSE and ICSE students from Class I to X. Assam and Kerala have also made their native languages mandatory till Class 10 in their states.

Till now, students in West Bengal studied English and one other language till Class VI but from Class VII onwards they had to choose a third language, which could be Indian or a foreign language.