In a significant development, the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) has opposed the government’s move to introduce English medium in over 1,000 government schools. It demanded immediate withdrawal of the proposal made on Thursday by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy in the State Budget. KDA Chairman S.G. Siddaramaiah has convened a meeting of writers, artistes, and representatives of Kannada institutions to discuss the issue on Saturday in Bengaluru.
The previous regime had initiated both legal and constitutional steps to impart education in the regional language. Besides advocating mother tongue as medium of instruction, the Congress government, had urged the Centre to enact a suitable law to overcome constitutional hurdles in implementing the same, said the KDA chief in a release.
The move involves merging government and aided schools, located within a 1-km radius of each other that have low admission rate, and run English classes along with Kannada-medium classes.
Alleging that it means “curtains for the concept of Kannada as medium of instruction for which the KDA and previous government have been fighting for long”, Mr. Siddaramaiah told The Hindu that a committee, headed by him, to strengthen government schools, had made 21 recommendations in September 2017. This was to stop either merging or closure of government schools. “It is unfortunate that the coalition government announced this proposal. The move is detrimental to the interests of promoting Kannada,” he said.
According to Mr. Siddaramaiah, the first recommendation of the committee was to stop the closure of government schools and impart education in Kannada. He said the former CM had termed the report scientific.
Educating a child in the mother tongue is the most scientific and natural model of education, he added.
“A government promoting English medium is what worries us. Instead, it should issue directions to all public schools to impart education in Kannada and teach English as a language, efficiently. This is KDA’s rightful demand too,” said Mr. Siddaramaiah.
Several stakeholders have slammed the merging of 28,847 government and aided schools with low admission rate. Rajashekhar V.N. of the Save Education Committee Karnataka, in a press release, condemned it. “The government has waived farm loans, but where should farmers’ children study? Instead of improving government schools, the government is closing them and encouraging privatisation,” he said.