Karnataka: New academic year kicks off amidst a host of uncertainties

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat Jun 2 16:11:12 UTC 2007

*Date:02/06/2007* *URL:

Front Page <http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/01hdline.htm>

*New academic year kicks off amidst a host of uncertainties *

Chitra V. Ramani

  *Class I students in 25,276 government schools get set to learn English *

There are demands to introduce Kannada in CBSE and ICSE schools
There is an opinion against advancing school timings *

*THE REALITY: Although it is the prerogative of every child to go to school,
and `education for all' is a popular slogan of our times, some unlucky ones
do not seem to enjoy such a privilege. Most schools reopened in Bangalore on
Friday. — Pho to: K. Gopinathan *

 Bangalore: As another academic year begins, the school community is
confronted with a slew of uncertainties. If impending derecognition is a
source of tension for parents and students from schools that have violated
the State's language policy, a possible change in school timings is a matter
of concern for other schools. In a major shift in State policy, first
graders in government schools must learn English as a language — another
area of controversy.

Syllabus changes

As if these were not enough, there are syllabus changes in the offing, and
even demands to introduce Kannada as a compulsory subject in CBSE and ICSE
schools in the State. First standard students in 25,276 government schools
in the State are getting ready to learn English amidst protests by
pro-Kannada organisations.


Govindaiah G., principal of Mulagal Valley Government School, and his staff
did a door-to-door campaign urging people to send their children to his
school. "The introduction of English and our combined effort have increased
enrolment in our school this year by 20 per cent," he claimed proudly. For
the more than three lakh children studying in the 2,215 derecognised schools
in the State, the anxiety has increased following the High Court's ruling on
Friday confirming the derecognition of schools coming under Karnataka
Private Schools Managements' Federation.

Court directive

The High Court has directed the Government to admit these students in other
schools. There is increased pressure on the State Government by pro-Kannada
organisations to make Kannada a compulsory subject in ICSE and CBSE schools
in Karnataka..

Maithreyi Sathyadev, principal of Sindhi High School, Kumara Krupa Road, *
Bangalore*, which is affiliated to the CBSE, said Kannada was one of the
subjects taught in the school.

B. Abida, principal of Florence Public School, pointed out, "Our school
follows the ICSE syllabus. The three-language formula ensures that students
either study Kannada as a third language or second language."

School timings

School timings is another cause for confusion. While the Department of
Public Instruction and the traffic police favour the advancement of school
timings to 8.30 a.m., Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Basavaraj
Horatti says he is unaware of the issue. H.M. *Sowbhagya* Lakshmi, principal
of Indian High School, says that advanced school timings would create
problems for children, parents and teachers.

"It is unfair to expect children to make such an early start. It is tough
for the parents and teachers too. It is better if the school timings are not

And as children get ready with new satchels, water bottles and crisp
uniforms, there are the 1.61 lakh children in Karnataka who remain excluded
from the school system. Their anxieties hardly find redress even though the
Right to Education is enshrined in our Constitution.


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