Karnataka: Muddled Language Policy

A complete generation was devastated and made uncompetitive by the No English policy of Basu and his communist cronies in West Bengal.

Politicians  from UP and Bihar with their chauvinistic approach towards English crippled a whole generation.

Karnataka, once a state of flowering intellectuals , has fallen on hard times.  Last two decades have seen chauvinists taking over the education policy. Much to the disadvantage of children.

Who will stem this rot and when?

Long-winded journey…

… Of School Language Policy

New Picture (52)


Bangalore: The state’s troubles with the language policy in schools date back to the mid-’90s, and has seen many a twist and turn over the years. Here’s a look at the chronology of events.
1994: Private societies are allowed by the government to run English-medium schools under the grant-in-aid code
1995: Following a Supreme Court order, government disallows setting up of English medium schools. Medium of instruction from Class 1 to 4 in schools set up post-1994 must be in a mother tongue or Kannada. Medium of instruction can be in English only from Class 5. Private schools challenge the government rule in the high court. Final verdict is awaited.
2003: The Raja Ramanna committee recommends the re-defining of primary schools from Class 1 to 5 and not Class 1 to 4. Government accepts the proposal. Schools were told to submit fresh registration to teach in Kannada medium up to Class 5.
August 2006: Government realizes that over 2,400 schools were teaching in English though they had obtained permission to teach only in Kannada. Primary and Secondary education minister Basavaraj S Horatti orders immediate closure of these schools.
September 2006: Following public outcry that three lakh children cannot be penalized, that too in the middle of the academic year, for the fault of school managements and an education department which didn’t even know about these violations, government says they will be allowed to continue till April 10, 2007.
October 2006: Government de-recognizes 2,200 schools and says these must shut down on April 11, 2007 immediately after the academic year ends.
March 2007: Government directs errant school managements to pay a penalty ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh to get recognition once again.
April 2007: School managements/association led by Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (KUSMA) approach the Karnataka high court.
May 2007: High court stays penalty levied on schools but says they must teach only in the medium instruction for which they have been given permission.
July 2008: The Karnataka HC partially quashed the language policy, going in favour of schools. HC says the policy is not applicable to unaided institutions and also restores parents’ liberty to choose the medium of instruction.
November 2008: Government challenged the Karnataka HC verdict in Supreme Court. Meanwhile, schools took shelter in the HC verdict and applied for English medium schools. State government applied for Special Leave Petition.
May 2009: Schools fighting to retain English as medium of instruction have said they will urge the state government to maintain status-quo in private unaided and minority schools on the language issue until the Supreme Court responds to a Special Leave Petition filed by the state government.
July 2009: High court directs state government to implement the verdict.
ANGRY JUDICIARY Governments may come and may go, the society and the rule of law must prevail. We doubt how many of them there have read the verdict. Persons in higher offices have ridiculed the court’s order. They have no common sense and they are not serious. Everybody has become an expert. Nobody, not even the government is above the law. Today’s kings think that they are above law; they have to be grounded to show their place. We’ll not be party to this lawlessness. Of late, excuses have become rule of law.
RELIEF FOR KAGERI A division Bench headed by Justice Manjula Chellur rejected the criminal contempt plea against minister for primary and secondary education minister Visweshwara Hegde Kageri for his media statements on implementation of language policy. The Bench opined that the complainant M S Khan, who runs a educational institution in Ejipura, can file a civil contempt against the authorities. MANY VOICES
There are approximately hundreds of applications pending before the state government for starting an English medium school. Most of these are from Bangalore. We are yet to get the exact number of applications. Meanwhile, we are studying the high court’s directions, and a decision will be taken soon.
Over 3,000 schools took permission from the state government after 1994. Around 1,000 schools have applied for English as medium of instruction across the district. Though the state government has filed Special Leave Petition (SLP), there is no stay on that. Hence, the court has asked the government to file court orders.
The session on Friday was adjourned to July 8. There was no final judgment, so I can’t really comment on it. But I am expecting better results.

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