[Lgpolicy-list] [lg policy] India: German in Kendriya Vidyalayas Controversy – Little known facts

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed Nov 19 16:41:44 UTC 2014

 German in Kendriya Vidyalayas Controversy – Little known facts

Nov 18, 2014

Kartikeya Tanna <https://www.niticentral.com/author/kartikeya-tanna>

#german <https://www.niticentral.com/tag/german>

#Kendriya Vidyalayas <https://www.niticentral.com/tag/kendriya-vidyalayas>

#Sanskrit <https://www.niticentral.com/tag/sanskrit>
 [image: German continues to be available in Kendriya Vidyalayas albeit as
an additional subject or a hobby language. (Photo: official school website)]

*German continues to be available in Kendriya Vidyalayas albeit as an
additional subject or a hobby language. (Photo: official school website)*

*What is the ‘Three Language Policy’?*

Answer: The answer to this can be found in MoS Home Kiren Rijiju’s reply in
Parliament on questions raised (ironically) by two Congress MPs (Shri D.K.
Suresh <http://myneta.info/ls2014/candidate.php?candidate_id=1090> and Shri
Thokchom Meinya <http://myneta.info/ls2014/candidate.php?candidate_id=3477>).
Why I use the word ‘ironically’ – will explain shortly. In this official
note on MHA website
<http://mha1.nic.in/par2013/par2014-pdfs/ls-050814/LS%203790pdf>, Mr.
Rijiju has provided a detailed history of how the Three Language Formula
came into existence. The policy nowhere envisages providing a foreign
language even as an option to the three categories of languages enumerated
therein. Policies and frameworks issued in three separate years – 1968,
1986 and 2005 (when the UPA was in power) confirm the Three Language Policy.

Notably, in explaining the ineffective implementation of the three language
formula (Para 5), Mr. Rijiju noted that some boards/institutions permitted
even European/foreign languages like Spanish, French and German in place of
Hindi or Sanskrit – which is clearly in violation of the policy.

*How was German introduced as a language in Kendriya Vidyalayas?*

Answer: This report carried on the German Missions in India official website
states that in 2009, KVS (Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan) decided to offer
German as an additional subject in the curriculum of Kendriya Vidyalayas.
Due to the success of this experiment, in 2011, KVS added German as the
third language in the ‘Three Language Policy’ as an option available to
students to choose in lieu of Sanskrit. This was done through a letter No.
F. 110332/7/2010/KVSHQ/Acad dated 05.01.2011, some details of which are
mentioned in Para 2 of this document
 NITI SPOTLIGHT <http://www.niticentral.com/niti-spotlight> Narendra Modi
goes to Australia
[image: modi5_0_0]

The Three Language Policy does not envisage offering a foreign language as
an option to Sanskrit or another Indian language. Clearly, this fell foul
of the national policy. *It is useful to note that the Three Language
Policy did not mandate Sanskrit as the only choice, but, in fact, students
could opt for any other Modern Indian Language in lieu of Sanskrit. The
choice under the policy was (and is) between Sanskrit and any other Modern
Indian Language.*

*What was the MoU in regard to introducing German in KVs?*

Answer: After KVS decided to have German as the third language that could
be opted if students did not want to choose Sanskrit, an MoU was signed
between KVS and Goethe Institute/Max Mueller Bhavan in the presence of E.
Ahamed, the then MoS, HRD. This Press Information Bureau official report
<http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=76195> contains details
of the same.

I used the word ‘ironically’ in the first question because the two Congress
MPs were asking MoS Home of the efficacy or otherwise of implementation of
the Three Language Policy when it was a UPA Government Minister in whose
presence the MoU introducing German as the third language came about to be

One of the points highlighted by an organisation by the name of Sanskrit
Shikshak Sangh in a PIL before the Delhi HC was that existing teachers of
KVs, particularly Sanskrit teachers, were asked to take training in German
to teach German to students. The PIB report on the MoU
<http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=76195> provides some
confirmation (in bullet point No. 2) of this utterly illogical step of
asking teachers trained in one language to take training in German and
teach students of KVs.

*Has there been any independent evaluation of having Sanskrit as a language
choice in schools or is it just Modi government’s so-called “RSS agenda”?*

Answer: The best answer to this comes in the form of a Supreme Court
judgment dated 04.10.1994
<http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgs1.aspx?filename=11225> which goes
into this issue at some length. In order to explain the importance of
Sanskrit, the SC judgment cites Central government policies in 1968 and
1986, report of Sanskrit Commission appointed by Central Government and
words of Jawaharlal Nehru (as stating that Sanskrit language and literature
is the India’s “greatest treasure” and “finest heritage”). *Notably, SC
also debunks the argument of Narsimha government’s Additional Solicitor
General that offering Sanskrit as an elective subject alone without also
offering  Arabic or Persian will be “against secularism” *(Para 19). In the
last paragraph, SC directs the Central Board for Secondary Education to
include Sanskrit as an elective subject.

At the cost of repetition, it is critical to note that even the SC is
*not *imposing
Sanskrit as a mandatory choice. In fact, no one is. It was, is and will
continue to be an elective subject.

*Has the  Minister of HRD “replaced” German with Sanskrit or is this a
media manufactured false argument ?*

Answer: Once again, this is an oversimplification of the actual position.
Firstly, the MoU had a term of three years and was expiring in September
earlier this year. Its renewal, even if temporary, could have been
construed as the Central Government’s endorsement of a continuing
violation. Yes, the students may likely end up suffering and one hopes that
the counselling organised by KVS due to this mid-way change is helpful.

Moreover, German continues to be available in KVs albeit as an additional
subject or a hobby language. And, moreover, Sanskrit is only one of many
electives as I explained in the earlier question. The only difference is
that, instead of the option of choosing German in lieu of Sanskrit,
students can choose any Modern Indian Language as the Three Language Policy
requires. There is absolute clarity on this in Item No. 4 in the minutes of
the meeting between Ms. Smriti Irani and KVS

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