Government may consider applications of just 1,700 English schools

Government may consider applications  of just 1,700 English schools

 The government may have decided to grant permission for English schools in the State in order to comply with court orders, but it is likely to consider applications of just 1,700 institutions belonging to a particular school association.

These schools had moved court seeking permission to teach in English medium from class 1 to 5. It is unclear what the government will do with applications of schools which didn’t go to court.

This apart, the applications of not all schools may be accepted. For their recognition would depend on whether they meet the infrastructure criteria and fulfil all the conditions laid down in the Right To Education (RTE) Act.

Child rights activist Niranjan Aradhya V P illustrates this point: “Just because the court has given directions with regard to the medium of instruction, the government cannot overlook other parameters for recognition of schools. For instance, two schools cannot function within a kilometre. There are also other infrastructure benchmarks for recognising schools.”

On Monday, the undersecretary of primary education had issued a direction to the commissioner of public instruction, asking him to permit English schools as per an interim order of the High Court dated February 27. This has to be done before March 31.

On Tuesday, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Kimmane Ratnakar held a meeting with Kannada writers, activists and the government officials concerned to discuss the issue. It emerged from the meeting that while abiding by the court directions, the government would not abandon its efforts to make Kannada a medium of instruction.

It is all set to table the Kannada Language Learning Bill, 2015, besides amendments to the RTE Act, in the ongoing legislature session. The Kannada Language Learning Bill seeks to make Kannada a mandatory subject from class 1 to 10 in all state board schools. The government will also ensure enforcement of 29 (2) (f) of the RTE Act, which stipulates that the medium of instruction in schools must be the child’s mother tongue “as far as practicable”.

‘Hard decisions’

The minister also hinted at “hard decisions” in April and May against schools that do not fulfil basic criteria for recognition. He said taking any drastic decision against schools at the moment would only create unnecessary anxiety among parents and students. Hence, the government would wait until annual exams get over.

Ministers’ meet

The government is likely to call a meeting of education ministers from south India to discuss insisting on regional language as the medium of instruction in schools. A memorandum would later be submitted to the Centre in this regard.

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