Grim future for Kannada schools in Tamil Nadu

Now, Kannada will be just an optional subject sans recognition

It appears that days are numbered for Kannada medium schools in Tamil Nadu, with the government in the neighbouring state making learning of Tamil mandatory for all students.

Kannada schools could face permanent closure in Tamil Nadu in the next five years, say concerned teachers of the language. Parents of students in these schools are already in a dilemma as to which medium of instruction will their children be studying this academic year. 

Tamil Nadu introduced a law from 2006 for compulsory teaching of Tamil as the first the language at schools in the state, from class I to X. English is taught only as a second language. 

Kannada used to be the first language in the Kannada medium schools before the Act came into force. English was the second language. As per a recent government order, Tamil will be the mandatory first language for the SSLC exams from the 2015-16 academic year. Students have to pass in Tamil, irrespective of the medium of instruction they have studied in, including Kannada.

As per the order, students who have studied in Kannada medium from class I to VIII and are in class IX this year, have to study Tamil as the first language from this year. Else, they will have a problem when they write the SSLC exams next year.

 The government order has caused great inconvenience to Kannada medium students in 28 primary, nine middle, three high schools and two pre-university colleges of Talavadi firqa (hobli) of Tamil Nadu near the border with Karnataka. 

Two-language policy

Tamil Nadu has a two-language policy in its schools, with English being the second language. This leaves students with a non-Tamil mother tongue to study that only as an optional subject, but it will have no recognition whatsoever. This very factor could sound the death knell for Kannada.

Another problem is that students who have so far studied Kannada as the first language from class I to X will not be eligible for government service in that state, said a teacher on condition of anonymity.

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