Those affiliated to Central Board of Secondary Education are not under obligation to teach Kannada
Bangalore: Even as opinion is sharply divided over the recent High Court verdict that says that unaided schools cannot be forced to teach in Kannada medium, schools which do not follow the State syllabus have remained outside the ambit of the debate.
While the language policy applies to schools that follow the State syllabus, those affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) and other bodies are not under any obligation to teach Kannada because they do not directly fall under the purview of the Karnataka Education Act.
Surprisingly, Education Department officials say they do not have statistics on the number of non-State syllabus schools in Karnataka.
According to Chennai regional office of CBSE, there are 181 CBSE-affiliated schools in Karnataka.
Of those, 90 are in Bangalore alone. In addition, there are over 100 CISCE schools in Bangalore.
The number of non-State syllabus schools has been on the rise in Karnataka since the Government stopped giving permission to start English medium schools in 1994.
One contention of the schools, which were de-recognised in 2006 for not complying with the language policy, has been that the Government has shown no restraint in issuing No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to start English medium schools following Central syllabus even as they were clamping down on State-syllabus schools for flouting language policy.
“Earlier, Central syllabus schools were few and catered to migrants and wards of those in transferable jobs. But their numbers are fast overtaking State-syllabus schools as that is the only way to start an English medium school now,” says H.S. Prabhu, who runs a school in Konanakunte.
Though the State Government has been trying to make it compulsory for all schools in Karnataka, irrespective of affiliation, to teach Kannada by introducing a clause in the NOC on language, there has been no strict implementation. The undertaking to be signed by the school managements before they were granted the NOC reads as follows: “After obtaining affiliation to CBSE and CISCE, the management shall teach Kannada language compulsorily as a subject.”
Though Kannada is a subject a student can choose as a second or a third language in several schools in Bangalore, it is not mandatory in most.
There is a contradiction between the clause in the NOC and the language policies of the boards themselves, with the boards not laying down any conditions on teaching of the language of the State in which the school is situated.
CBSE’s language formula, for example, clearly states that the medium of instruction can be either English or Hindi.
The second language can be any of the languages listed in the curriculum, which includes regional languages and a few foreign languages.
A third language, taught up to standard eight, can be anything other than the first and second languages.
“Schools have the autonomy to introduce the third language at any stage they find appropriate,” says an official at the CBSE regional office in Chennai.
These unresolved inconsistencies in the State’s attitude towards the medium of instruction has, in turn, led to a situation where Kannada medium is thrust only on those who cannot afford to send their children to Central syllabus schools which are invariably expensive.