Rule to make Kannada obligatory in faculties nonetheless in limbo

BENGALURU: Months after the state government announced will be a mandatory subject in from 2018-19, and schools continue to remain in a bind. With the start of the academic year fast approaching, department officials and school managements are jittery since the rule requires approval from the legislature before it can be introduced.
However, the legislature, with a new government in place, is unlikely to meet before regular classes commence. Moreover, some parents intend to oppose the government’s decision in court.

Based on the Kannada Language Learning Act 2015, the government had sent out a circular in January stating Kannada should be introduced as the first or second language in all schools from 2018-19. While Kannada activists and littérateurs welcomed the move, some private schools and parents opposed it, saying it does not befit a cosmopolitan city like Bengaluru.

To get around the hurdle, school managements had suggested Kannada be a third language. The government and managements reached a consensus, but immediate implementation is still a problem.

P C Jaffer, commissioner, department of public instruction, said “In order to make it the third language, an amendment by the legislature is required.” Also, in many CBSE and ICSE schools, the admission process has already been completed.

After the circular was issued by the department of public instruction in January this year, the requested the government to give parents the option to choose Kannada as the third language. president M Srinivasan said: “We are not against the inclusion of Kannada, but parents should be given a choice. There are many students whose mother tongue is not Kannada. It’s a good move to get them to learn Kannada, but it should not be enforced at the cost of their mother tongue.”

Asked what difference it would make if Kannada is made first, second or third language, Srinivasan said: “If Kannada is a first or second language, then it will be a subject in board exams. If it is a third language, it would be a normal exam with certain relaxation.”

D Shashi Kumar, general secretary, of English Medium Schools (KAMS), said, “At a high level meeting comprising department officials and school managements recently, there was consensus on providing one-in-three language be it standard appropriate or migrant appropriate. Teaching Kannada in a phased manner will be a healthy development.”

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