Kannada writers flay SC order, call for review petition

Kannada writers flay SC order, call for review petition

Litterateurs and activists favouring Kannada as medium of instruction have urged the State government to file a review petition against the Supreme Court ruling as per which the government cannot impose mother tongue on students as medium of instruction in primary schools, and the matter is left to parents’ discretion.

In January this year, a ten-member group of authors and activists had written to the chief minister urging him to take an initiative towards a national language policy.

They also requested him to discuss the matter with other states favouring their regional language as medium of instruction in primary schools.

In the group were Prof U R Ananthamurthy, Dr Chandrashekhara Kambara, Dr Niranjan Aradhya V P, M M Kalburgi, S Shettar, Chennaveera Kanavi, Gurulinga Kapse, T P Ashok, C N Ramachandran and Jayant Kaikini.

In the light of the Supreme Court verdict, child rights activist Aradhya strongly voiced for a review petition.

“A national language policy is definitely needed. The court has failed to take cognisance of the research which has conclusively proved that education in mother tongue is beneficial to students,” Aradhya said. “This will lead to commercialisation of education and privatisation of instruction.”

He feared that it would create hurdles to ensuring equity in education.

Prof Ananthamurthy termed the judgment “anti-child”.

“The verdict takes into account the right of the schools to teach in English but does not take into account the nature of the child; that the child is happy with the language of the environment,” he said.

“English can be taught as a subject from class I while retaining the medium of instruction as Kannada. The verdict has been given without vision. We need to build a country where both English and regional languages co-exist.”

Private schools are understandably happy about the verdict.

“It’s a historic judgment,” Ajith Prabhu, treasurer of Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (Kusma), told reporters.

“Since the judgment applies to all states in the country, from now on there will be no problems relating to medium of instruction in primary school.”

He added that although the course work would not be in Kannada medium, Kannada as a language would be taught in all schools.

But ‘Mukhyamantri’ Chandru, chairperson of the Kannada Development Authority (KDA), said the verdict was a “big blow” to the State government, and would have repercussions in other states as well.

“I met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and he has promised to call a meeting between officials of various departments and Kannada litterateurs to decide the next course of action. As the KDA chairperson, I will also write letters to all chief ministers across the nation to warn them about the repercussions of the SC judgment on imparting education to children in their respective languages,” he said.

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