[Lgpolicy-list] [lg policy] India: Indian Civil Service Schools Told to Ditch German

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Mon Nov 17 16:05:34 UTC 2014

 Indian Civil Service Schools Told to Ditch German
by Naharnet Newsdesk Yesterday

     [image: W460]

India's right-wing Hindu nationalist government has ordered the country's
civil service schools to replace the teaching of German with an Indian
language such as Sanskrit in the "national interest", reports said Saturday.

The order has been given to the state-run Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan
(Central School Organization), which comprises 1,092 schools across India
serving children of army officials and other government personnel,
according to the Indian Express newspaper.

Currently German is offered in these government-run schools as an optional
foreign language.

It was not immediately clear whether only Sanskrit would be allowed in
place of German or also other official Indian languages such as Tamil.
However, reviving Sanskrit has been a priority of the ruling Bharatiya
Janata Party which swept to power in May.

Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani said the decision was
taken in "the national interest", according to the Indian Express. Pupils
could continue to study German as a "hobby" (no credit) class, he said.

Sanskrit, an ancient classical language used in literature and by Hindu
priests, is from the Indo-Aryan group and is the root of many but not all
of India's nearly two-dozen official languages.

Just 14,000 people among India's 1.2-billion population call Sanskrit their
primary language, census figures show.

A Sanskrit lobby group, the Sanskrit Sikshak Sangh (SSS), had launched
court action in favour of the move and called teaching of foreign languages
in schools "a western conspiracy" aimed at "ending civilisation".

"The fundamental aim of studying Sanskrit isn't earning money but the
search for happiness," SSS president D.K. Jha told the newspaper.

"Whether it's NASA's research on the 'God particle' or astronomy or
mathematics, all of the knowledge is already there. Sanskrit is the key
which will unlock it," he said.

Schools belonging to the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan have 1,148,340
students on their books, according to the group's website. The schools have
a common syllabus, teaches children of government personnel who often are
frequently transferred.

The decision affects  68,000 students between grades six to eight and comes
months before they were due to sit exams.

Germany's leading diplomat said he believed the two countries could solve
the issue.

"I talked to the government and on the basis of that I express my
confidence we will find a workable solution," Germany's ambassador to New
Delhi, Michael Steiner, told India's Firstpost news website.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel planned to make teaching German one of the
top agenda items in her first bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister
Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit currently underway in
Brisbane, The Times of India newspaper reported.

India's national education "three-language policy," which applies to the
civil-service schools, allows the teaching of Sanskrit, Hindi and English.

In private schools which do not fall under the government order, students
opt for a variety of foreign languages from French to German and Spanish as
well as Mandarin.
 SourceAgence France Presse

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