DSERT chief draws flak for suggesting fewer languages in curriculum

A suggestion by H S Ramarao, the director of Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT), that languages need not be taught so extensively in schools, stirred an animated debate at an event here on Friday.

Ramarao lamented that children were being taught languages far more than the core subjects such as science and mathematics. According to him, science, maths and social science subjects were “not getting due attention” in the current school scenario. He felt that equal attention should be given to languages and the core subjects.

“If one can learn a language like German in just three months, why should a student spend his/her entire academic life in learning so many languages?” he wondered. He was speaking at Adhyapan 2013, an event organised by the NGO, Shruth and Smith Foundation.

A number of teachers in the audience did not see eye to eye with Ramarao about the issue. One of them stressed that language was a medium of instruction without which it would be difficult to learn other subjects.

“It is important to learn not only one’s mother tongue but also the national language, besides the global lingua franca,” the teacher said. “Even in the USA, France and England, people learn several languages.”

In response, Ramarao said that he was merely highlighting the fact that more attention should be devoted to core subjects. “Fewer languages need to be taught in school,” he maintained.

Shortage of textbooks

On the occasion, many teachers complained that textbooks had not reached schools in various parts of the State. A teacher mentioned that the first language textbooks of class 5 and third language textbooks of class 8 had not reached his school yet.

Others highlighted that there was a shortage of textbooks in various parts of Bijapur and even in Bangalore. They said that something should be done immediately.

Ramarao, however, claimed that as per his knowledge, all textbooks had reached schools. Nonetheless, he would a look into the matter and take action accordingly, he promised.

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