Bangalore: Erring schools face contempt of court

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue May 29 16:03:29 UTC 2007


Karnataka <> - Bangalore

*Erring schools face contempt of court *

B.S. Ramesh

Schools can admit students only in the permitted medium
The language policy has not been stayed by the High Court *

BANGALORE: With some primary schools defiant that they will continue to
admit students in the English medium against norms, the stage appears to be
set for initiating contempt proceedings against them. This is because the
institutions are set to violate the High Court order of Thursday in which
Justice A.C. Kabbin, who heard petitions by more than 200 schools, said the
schools could admit students only in the medium in which they had been
permitted to start. What this means is that if a school has been licensed to
teach in Kannada, it should admit students only in that medium and not in
English or any other medium. If any school is found to be violating the
order, it can be hauled up for contempt of court.

Government advocate N. Manohar, who has appeared for scores of cases on
education, says that the institutions have challenged the language policy
and not the medium of instruction. The language policy has not been stayed
as claimed by a section of the advocates and the Advocate-General has only
given an undertaking to the High Court not to enforce it. Moreover, the
schools had violated the undertaking given at the time of starting the
institution that they would teach only in Kannada. The genesis of this
undertaking goes back to 1994 when the State for the first time formulated
the language policy according primacy to Kannada.

Schools started after 1994 were asked to give an undertaking that they would
teach students only in Kannada and not in any other language. With the
schools having given such an undertaking, it would now be difficult for them
to get away.


Other advocates point out that the voluntary scheme drawn up by the
Government has granted relief to erring schools. The State has said that it
would permit students in the second, third, fourth and fifth standards to
continue studying in the medium of instruction they were taught in the
earlier classes. This means that if these students have been taught in
English even though the schools they have been permitted to teach only in
Kannada, they can still continue to be taught in English till the fifth
standard in the same language. These submissions were also made before the
High Court when cases relating to the language policy, the voluntary scheme
envisaging levy of penalty for schools that had violated the State's policy
on medium of instruction and withdrawal of recognition of schools.

This, however, is only a one-time arrangement arrived at under the April 14,
2007 voluntary scheme to ensure that more than three lakh students studying
in nearly 2,200 schools and nearly 12,000 teachers did not face any hardship
when the institutions are derecognised.

Mother tongue

Many schools and even people are confused about the issue of mother tongue
and they feel that the scheme has been drawn up to ensure that students are
taught only in Kannada. Nothing could be more far from the truth as the
State has, in 1994, recognised eight languages as mother tongue in which
students can be taught. This includes Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi,
Malayalam and Hindi. Thus schools, which have been permitted to start in any
one of these languages, can continue teaching in that language and not in
English or Kannada as has been made out.


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