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Globalisation destroying education: Shantarasa

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Staff Reporter

Says Government is decreasing annual grants to the sector

BIDAR: The day is not far off when Dalits, the oppressed sections of society and the poor launch a struggle to ascertain their basic right to education following the Government's penchant for privatisation of education in the name of "quality," noted bilingual scholar Shantarasa Hemberalu has said.

Delivering the presidential address at the three-day 72nd Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelan here on Friday, he said: "The menace of globalisation is destroying the field of education in the country, and the official obsession for privatisation is strangling the common man, who is gasping for breath."

In the name of quality education, the Government is substantially decreasing its annual grants for education. As a sequel, schools and colleges owned by the Government and quasi-government bodies are being closed, and gradually becoming private property.

On the issue of medium of instruction, he said that as children studying in the Kannada medium learn English from the third standard, children studying in the English medium should also be made to learn Kannada from the same class. However, it will be wise to decide the question of medium of instruction considering a child's ability to learn the language, that of learning different languages simultaneously and the mental burden involved. In this direction learning of other languages should be made optional, barring one's mother tongue, he said.

An acclaimed scholar in Urdu and Kannada and known for his leanings towards the left, Dr. Shantarasa touched upon various subjects such as the cultural and economic impacts of privatisation, liberalisation and globalisation and terrorism, fundamentalism and communalism.

On linguistic harmony in the background of the Belgaum incident and the Shiv Sena's alleged role in spoiling the linguistic harmony between Kannada and Marathi-speaking people, he said morbid activities of organisations such as the Shiv Sena should be discouraged.

The onus of regulating the activities of such organisations lies on the Government. History has ample examples to illustrate the benign nature of Kannada-speaking people and their concern and respect for other languages and their belief in peaceful coexistence, he asserted.

He expressed displeasure over regional imbalances and the problems of people living in the border areas and the related reports of various commissions and individuals languishing with the Government. He demanded that the Government create a separate department to look into the problems of the people living in the border areas and address them.

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