Pro-Kannada organisations oppose English from Class 1 in govt schools

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Jul 9 16:31:18 UTC 2005

>>From the Deccan Herald,

Debate for English from Class 1 in govt schools

DH News Service Bangalore:

Social organisations, including the Dalit Sangarsha Samithi, farmer
organisations, NGOs and academicians on Friday supported introduction of
the English language as a subject from class I in government schools.
While the opinion was divided among Kannada litterateurs, a majority of
the speakers at a discussion convened by Chief Minister N Dharam Singh on
Friday favoured introduction of English from lower primary levels to
bridge the gap created by globalisation.

Pro-Kannada organisations, however, were totally against any move to
introduce the English language at the primary level and made a fervent
plea to the government to come out with a comprehensive language policy to
protect Kannada in a globalised world.

The three-hour discussion organised at Conference Hall in Vidhana Soudha
was held in a charged atmosphere with frequent verbal duels erupting
between various groups. Kannada writer Prof K R Nagaraj and social
activist Prof Nagaraj Huliyar said while Kannada should remain the medium
of instruction in schools, distancing from a universal language like
English would retard the progress of students in 43,000 government
schools. It was foolish to perceive absorbing of English into the local
culture as surrendering to western imperialism, they said and pointed out
that good communication skill in English was mandatory to secure jobs in
the private companies.

They said students who study in government schools were finding it tough
to compete with students of private schools in urban areas. Former mayor G
Narayana and veteran journalist Patil Puttappa said English, a language
alien to students, should not be imposed. Besides, there were no teachers
who can effectively teach English in rural areas. Teachers must be trained
first before taking any step to introduce English, otherwise consequences
would be disastrous, they felt.

Kannada Sahitya Parishat President Chandrashekar Patil said the government
should first get a High Court stay vacated on making mother tongue the
medium of instruction for primary schools and evolve a comprehensive
language policy. Litterateurs G S Shivarudrappa and K Chidananda Murthy,
also echoed similar views. KRRS President Puttanaiah said it was obvious
that in today's context of globalisation English opened the doors to
higher education and enabled greater mobility within and outside the

[Moderator's note: Karnataka's capital is Bangalore, where Kannada
speakers find their language marginalized. (hs)]

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