Karnataka: the battle rages on

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Thu May 17 13:11:08 UTC 2007

Battle rages on: Kannada vs Eng medium

Shweta Ganesh Kumar CNN-IBN

MIND YOUR LANGUAGE: The verdict on the language debate in schools is
expected to be out by the end of May.  [...] The Kannada versus English
medium school battle has been playing out since September 2006 but with a
new academic year looming ahead, a cloud of confusion has descended on
parents and schools in the state. In this web of uncertainty there are
many parents like Chidanand S who always wanted his daughter to study in
an English medium school and so he chose Bangalores Sree Saraswathi Vidya
Mandir (SSVM) for her pre-nursery education.

But the SSVM, along with more than 2,000 other schools, was derecognised
by the state government in September. This is because the SSVM was running
an English medium school while they were approved to run a Kannada medium
school. The school has been ordered to conduct classes in Kannada. When we
come to a private school, it is entirely my will and wish whether I want
to admit our child to an English or Kannada medium school. This is really
confusing, Chidanand said. After derecognition, the government gave the
schools an opportunity to apply for recognition by paying a fine ranging
from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh depending on the school's location.

The Karnataka Unaided Schools' Managements Associations (KUSMA) challenged
the penalty in the High Court and got a stay, but there is confusion over
the future of lakhs of children. What do we have to do next? We are all
expecting language policy from the Karnataka High Court. Arguments are
over now and all we are expecting is a judgement, KUSMA President, GS
Sharma said. The government, on its part, insists on having Kannada as the
medium of instruction at these schools. "We will try our level best to
vacate the stay, Minister for Primary Education, Basavaraj Horatti said.
The verdict on the language debate is expected to be out by the end of
May. But till then more than three lakh students in more than 2,000
schools across the state will have to wait on tenterhooks.


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