CM firm on including English in government schools

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy pays floral tributes to the portrait of former president Dr S Radhakrishnan, on the occasion of Teachers’ Day at Central College in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Minister Roshan Baig and Mayor N Sampath Raj are seen. DH PHOTO

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy was firm on introducing English as a medium of instruction in 1,000 government schools despite protests by Kannada writers and intellectuals.

Kumaraswamy was speaking at the Teacher’s Day event organised by the Department of Public Instruction at Vidhana Soudha on Wednesday where 75 government school teachers were felicitated.

The chief minister lashed out at pro-Kannada groups for opposing the introduction of English in government schools.

“I had announced in the budget that English would be introduced as a subject in 1,000 government schools as a pilot project.”

“Subsequently, a delegation of people who claim to be saviours of the Kannada language met me and urged me to drop this plan. Their children study in English schools, but what about children of the poor people and the farmers?,” he asked rhetorically.

‘Committed for Kannada’

“My government is committed to saving Kannada, but we can’t have one thing for the poor and another for the well-to-do.”

In his July 5 Budget speech, Kumaraswamy had said that English medium classes will be introduced along with existing Kannada medium classes in 1,000 goverment schools.

He said he had instructed the Education Department officials to work on the budget proposal, which is likely to be implemented in the 2019-20 academic year.

Jnanpith awardee Chandrashekhar Kambar, critic Chandrashekhar Patil (Champa), poet Siddalingaiah, Kannada Sahitya Parishat president Manu Baligar, scholar
M Chidananda Murthy, freedom fighter H S Doreswamy and Kannada Development Authority chairperson S G Siddaramaiah are among those who have opposed the move to introduce English in government schools.

English education

Kumaraswamy’s plan to introduce English education in government schools goes against his coalition partner Congress’ stand. The previous Siddaramaiah-led regime made Kannada learning compulsory after Karnataka lost a two-decades-old legal battle in the Supreme Court on making Kannada the medium of instruction.

Siddaramaiah had introduced English in government schools only as a subject.

He said 1,000 teachers proficient in English will be recruited to improve the quality and attendance in government schools. He also offered to provide special English coaching for existing teachers.

“I also studied in a Kannada-medium government school, but I also have English knowledge. When it comes to speaking English, there is fear that I might make grammatical mistakes. Nobody is perfect.”

Late by two hours

H D Kumaraswamy was scheduled to arrive at the Teacher’s Day function at 11 am on Wednesday. He showed up at exactly 1.35 pm.

“I’m sorry I’m late. In a bid to please everybody, my office includes so many programmes in one day. I get a bad name because of this,” he said.

“In the event before this, I allowed a senior academician to speak ahead of me, but he went on and on. I had to wait for him to finish,” he quipped.

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CM firm on including English in government schools

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