The decision to make Malayalam a mandatory subject in schools in the State from this academic year is set to turn into a major row with the Karnataka Samiti here warning of an agitation if the government does not rescind the move with immediate effect.

“The previous Left Democratic Front government's decision to make Malayalam a mandatory subject in schools has caused great deal of uncertainty among students of Kannada-speaking linguistic minorities in this border district. We hope the new government will set things right by rescinding the May 6 orders with immediate effect,” V.B. Kakkillaya, honorary president of the Karnataka Samiti, toldThe Hindu on Saturday.

The decision shortly after the Assembly elections was unwarranted as the students of Kannada medium schools would have to learn Malayalam in addition to the existing Kannada syllabus, he said.

The move would reduce the existing five-hour teaching period a week to three hours with the remaining two spent for learning Malayalam. The decision would overburden the Kannada medium students and affect their academic performance, Mr. Kakkillaya said.

He said the samiti, which takes up issues confronting the Kannada-speaking linguistic minorities in the border district, had already staged a day-long agitation before the District Collectorate on May 25 and would intensify the stir if the government failed to revoke the orders.

“Barring the CPI(M), all major political parties here have expressed strong support to the samiti's demand while the local Indian Union Muslim League MLA, N.A. Nellikkunnu, have promised to take up the issue before the State government,” Mr. Kakkillaya said.

The samiti had recently forwarded a memorandum to the Chief Minister and the Education Minister urging them to drop the move. He said copies of the letter had also been sent to the Karnataka government seeking its intervention in the matter.

He said students of the Kannada medium schools were joining schools in Karnataka to avoid hassles. If such a trend continued, the Kannada medium teachers would lose their jobs.

Warning of an intensified agitation, he said the samiti was exploring strategies, including boycott of classes by the Kannada medium students when the schools reopened next month.

  • Protest against making Malayalam mandatory subject

  • Government urged to revoke order