Language case posted for February 9

B.S. Ramesh and Bageshree S.

Education Department may soon start issuing endorsements to schools

Schools may not be given permission to teach

in English medium

About 500 applicants will have to wait longer for the final decision of the Supreme Court

BANGALORE: The three-month deadline for the Education Department to take a decision on all pending applications to open English-medium schools came to an end on Saturday. But with the case on the contentious issue of medium of instruction slated to come up before the Supreme Court Registry on February 9, about 500 applicants will have to wait longer.

According to sources, the Education Department may soon start issuing endorsements to schools, which had applied on or before October 31, 2008. It is expected to refuse permission to these managements to start English-medium schools, pending a clear direction from the Supreme Court. So, yet another round of legal battle seems imminent.

Court battle

The schools had submitted applications to start English-medium schools following the Karnataka High Court order of July 2, 2008, which said that the Government could not compel private schools to follow its policy on medium of instruction. These schools had been closed down by the Karnataka Government in 2006 for running English-medium classes on the sly although they had permission only to run Kannada-medium classes. They had taken the issue to court.

The 2008 ruling of the High Court, which gave a new lease of life to these schools, had asked them to submit fresh applications seeking permission to teach in English medium from the next academic year.

The department, in turn, was asked to consider the applications afresh and pass orders. The State Government had approached the Supreme Court on this issue, but had not been able to get a stay so far.

As per the Classification and Registration Rules of the Education Act (Section 30), any institution which wants to start school in any medium will have to apply to the respective Block Education Officer (BEO) by October 31. The jurisdictional Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI), as per the rules, may dispose of these applications within three months after the last date. But legal sources say that the word “may” in the curricula rules leaves enough room for the authorities to reject the application or seek more time. With the academic year beginning only from June, the authorities can buy time till March 31 to take a decision on the issue.

“The department is obliged to take a decision within three months. If they fail to take a decision, we will go by the High Court judgment and admit children to English-medium classes,” said G.S. Sharma, president of the Karnataka Unaided Schools Managements’ Association (KUSMA).

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