B.S. Ramesh

Officials refuse to supply textbooks to schools teaching in English

BANGALORE: With Karnataka unable to legally enforce Kannada as the medium of instruction, the State Government is now arm-twisting schools that have not accepted its language policy to fall in line by denying textbooks to them.

The Karnataka Minorities Education Institutions Association has said that the State Government is denying them textbooks this year saying they were teaching in English while they were supposed to teach only in Kannada. An association official said around 900 schools are its members. Most of them had requisitioned textbooks from the Karnataka Textbook Authority, a State Government concern.

Though the schools had remitted the required fee, they were not supplied the textbooks, said the association's advocate G.R. Mohan.

A government official confirming this said the fee was refunded. He added that these schools would not be supplied with textbooks as they were violating the undertaking they had given to the Government that they would teach in Kannada.

Goes to court

With many schools set to reopen after the vacations on May 24, students face the prospect of going to school without textbooks. Left with no other option, the association has now decided to knock on the doors of the High Court. Till the court decides, schools affiliated to the association will not be able to start any class.

According to the State Government, unaided minority primary schools must teach students from the first to the fifth standard in Kannada as the medium of instruction or in the mother tongue of the student. All primary schools that were started in Karnataka after 1994 were asked to give an undertaking that they would teach either in Kannada or in the mother tongue of the child. The State had thus cleverly excluded English from being taught in primary schools.

Rejected

This policy of the State was rejected by a Full Bench of the Karnataka High Court on July 2, 2008. It upheld the right of a student to select the medium of instruction.

The State appealed to the Supreme Court which refused to stay the High Court order. The issue is now pending adjudication.

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