A confederation of Kannada organisations, led by Kannada Sahitya Parishat (KSP), which cautioned the State government that it would launch an agitation opposing the Education Department’s decision to introduce English as a medium of instruction in higher primary classes a fortnight ago, has changed its stand following opposition from various quarters.
A recent meeting of representatives of pro-Kannada organisations, writers, intellectuals and education experts decided to demand a uniform education policy and the implementation of the Dr. Sarojini Mahishi Committee report on jobs for those who have studied in Kannada medium.
Defending his decision and appreciating the concern shown by the sahitya parishat, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri had said that a section of parents and elected representatives were demanding that English be the medium of instruction in government schools in the interests of students.
Even Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda criticised the stand of litterateurs opposing English as a medium of instruction saying that the litterateurs themselves were sending their children to English-medium schools. Writers, Dalit leaders and intellectuals, including Nataraj Huliyar, Indudhara Honnapura, Mavalli Shankar, L.N. Mukundraj, had strongly opposed the stand of the sahitya parishat.
“In view of the opposition, the sahitya parishat has decided to amend its stand and demand uniform education policy and the implementation of the Dr. Sarojini Mahishi Committee report,” said sahitya parishat president Pundaleeka Halambi.
Speaking to The Hindu, he said that it had been decided to urge the government to introduce a uniform education pattern both in private and government schools. The government should strictly abide by the language policy of 1994 and Kannada must be the medium of instruction from classes 1 to 4, he said. “Medium of instruction can be in English only from Class 5. We are not opposed to English altogether. The sahitya parishat is for teaching English as a language,” he clarified.
Urging the government to convene a meeting of educational and language experts to find a permanent solution to the vexed issue, he promised support to the government in the endeavour.