Bangalore: English-medium schools fine for Ministers' kids

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Oct 2 09:37:29 UTC 2006

News -- Bangalore: English-medium Schools fine for Ministers Kids in
State, Banned for Others

New IndPress

Bangalore, Sep 28: The Karnataka government is threatening to jeopardise
the education of 2.73 lakh school students in its zeal to make Kannada the
compulsory medium of instruction at the primary level. But its ministers
have one policy for themselves and another for the people. As many as 15
ministers of the 30-member cabinet have sent their children to
English-medium schools. They include Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and
Primary Education Minister Basavaraj Horatti, who has ordered the closure
of 1,416 state syllabus schools for violating a 1994 Kannada schools only

Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil studied at Carmel English School at Bangalore,
Deputy Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's two sons Raghavendra and Vijendra
went to the English-medium Lions School in Shimoga. Horatti's oldest son
Vasanth, now an MBA student, initially studied in an English-medium school
in Mumbai before moving to St Michaels at Hubli. His second son Bharath,
now an engineering student, is a Kendriya Vidyalaya product, and his
daughter Lakshmi was at a Hubli convent school. My children were in
English-medium schools before the 1994 rule came in.  We are not saying
don't study in English schools. These schools gave an undertaking that
Kannada will be their medium of instruction. They have violated the rule,
Horatti argues.

Each minister has an interesting excuse. We made a mistake (in admitting
children to English-medium schools), we don't want others to be making the
same mistake. I support the move initiated by the government, Science and
Technology Minister Ramachandra Gowda says. Though my children study in an
English-medium school, I have told them to learn Kannada as well. Language
options in their schools allow them to learn both, says Labour Minister
Iqbal Ansari. The government has issued closure notices to 1,416 schools
over the past month and has proposed to retrench students from these
schools to Kannada government and private schools, when schools re-open
after a Dussehra break. The schools are being shutdown for violating a
1994 government notification that made it mandatory for all new schools to
use Kannada as the medium of instruction.

We have been forced to take action to implement the language policy after
the schools ignored warning notices, Kumaraswamy said. The government has
come up with no plans for the 2. 73 lakh students. Perhaps the lone voice
of difference in the government is that of a man who did not send his
children to English-medium schools. The students must not be put through
this in the middle of the academic year. Going to a good Kannada school is
not a handicap, but knowing English gives children better opportunities in
the liberalised world, says Medical Education Minister Dr V S Acharya
whose five children have been educated in Kannada-medium schools.

His colleagues who sent their children to English schools are: Public
Works and Energy Minister H D Revanna, Minister for Revenue Jagadish
Shettar, Transport Minister N Cheluvarayaswamy, Labour and Minority
Welfare Minister Iqbal Ansari, Health Minister R Ashok, Industries
Minister Katta Subramanyam Naidu, Science and Technology Minister
Ramachandra Gowda, Housing Minister D T Jayakumar, Forest Minister C
Chenigappa, Tourism Minister B Sriramulu, Wakf Minister Zameer Ahmed Khan
and Minister for Food Govind Karjol. Among the exceptions are Water
Resources minister K S Eshwarappa and Higher Education Minister D H
Shankaramurthy who sent their children to Kannada-medium schools.


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