Removing German from KVs may figure in Modi-Merkel talks

Removing German from KVs may figure in Modi-Merkel talks

The issue of German being struck off from the list of third languages being offered to Kendriya Vidyalaya students of India may figure in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel in Australia on Sunday.

Modi and Merkel are expected to meet at Brisbane in Australia on the sidelines of the G-20 summit. Though bilateral economic relations were expected to be the focus of the discussion between the two leaders, Merkel is expected to convey to Modi Berlin’s disappointment over New Delhi’s recent decision to strike German off the list of third languages for the students of Kendriya Vidyalayas of India.

Sources said that Modi might convey to Merkel that the decision of his government concerning the list of third languages being offered to Kendriya Vidyalaya students to pick from was not intended to belittle German or hurt India’s friendly and cordial ties with Germany.According to an official in New Delhi, the prime minister is likely to convey to Germany’s chancellor that New Delhi would ensure that youths in India continue to get ample opportunity to learn German if they want to.

He will also request her to create opportunities for German students to learn Indian languages in Germany. He will stress that such reciprocal initiatives by the two countries’ governments would go a long way in strengthening the people-to-people contact between India and Germany.

Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani on Friday dismissed as illegal the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Goethe-Institut and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan providing for teaching of German as the third language in the Kendriya Vidyalayas.

Smriti defended the October 27 decision of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan to discontinue teaching German in the Kendriya Vidyalayas.

This prompted German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner to take up the issue with the officials and convey Berlin’s disappointment to New Delhi. “I talked to the Government (of India) and I express my confidence that we will find a workable solution. In the end, it is up to the Government of India,” Steiner told journalists on Friday.

“I think we will find a solution which takes care of the interests of the students who have expressed their desire to study foreign languages and I think I am pretty confident,” he added. Smriti clarified that German would not be replaced with Sanskrit and the students would be free to choose any Indian language, including Sanskrit as third language.

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