[lg policy] Karnataka: Stress is on mother tongue of child

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 15 14:51:44 UTC 2014

Stress is on mother tongue of child


Public discourse on the State government’s 1994 language policy is often
misguided in assuming ‘mother tongue’ to be Kannada alone. The policy
actually favours the mother tongue of the child and not the regional
language (Kannada) alone.

Linguist K.V. Narayana, chairman of the Kuvempu Bhasha Bharathi Authority,
said the policy makers were themselves confused on the issue as a result of
which the debate on it has been misled. He said mother tongue was that
language the child speaks at home and carried to the school, which is
widely believed to be the best medium of instruction for the child.

In a State with high levels of migration from across the country, the
implementation of the policy in this broad sense is ridded with many
“practical difficulties”, say Education Department officials.

While Urdu as a medium of instruction could be ensured as there are many
Urdu-medium schools in the State, ensuring education in all other languages
is a Herculean task, they said. “We cannot teach in different languages in
the same school. However, starting schools for every language is also not
practical,” an education official said. This raises questions on the
effective implementation of the 1994 language policy in its spirit.


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