Thursday, September 28, 2006

English-medium fine for Ministers’ kids in Karnataka, banned for others

English-medium fine for Ministers’ kids in Karnataka, banned for others
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Karnataka government is threatening to jeopardise the education of 2.73 lakh school students in its zeal to make Kannada the compulsory medium of instruction at the primary level. But its ministers have one policy for themselves and another for the people.

As many as 15 ministers of the 30-member cabinet have sent their children to English-medium schools. They include Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and Primary Education Minister Basavaraj Horatti, who has ordered the closure of 1,416 state syllabus schools for violating a 1994 ‘Kannada schools only’ rule.

Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil studied at Carmel English School at Bangalore, Deputy Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s two sons Raghavendra and Vijendra went to the English-medium Lion’s School in Shimoga.

Horatti’s oldest son Vasanth, now an MBA student, initially studied in an English-medium school in Mumbai before moving to St Michael’s at Hubli. His second son Bharath, now an engineering student, is a Kendriya Vidyalaya product, and his daughter Lakshmi was at a Hubli convent school.

“My children were in English-medium schools before the 1994 rule came in. We are not saying don’t study in English schools. These schools gave an undertaking that Kannada will be their medium of instruction. They have violated the rule,’’ Horatti argues.

Each minister has an interesting excuse. “We made a mistake (in admitting children to English-medium schools), we don’t want others to be making the same mistake. I support the move initiated by the government,’’ Science and Technology Minister Ramachandra Gowda says. “Though my children study in an English-medium school, I have told them to learn Kannada as well. Language options in their schools allow them to learn both,’’ says Labour Minister Iqbal Ansari.

The government has issued closure notices to 1,416 schools over the past month and has proposed to retrench students from these schools to Kannada government and private schools, when schools re-open after a Dussehra break. The schools are being shutdown for violating a 1994 government notification that made it mandatory for all new schools to use Kannada as the medium of instruction.

“We have been forced to take action to implement the language policy after the schools ignored warning notices,’’ Kumaraswamy said. The government has come up with no plans for the 2. 73 lakh students.

Perhaps the lone voice of difference in the government is that of a man who did not send his children to English-medium schools. “The students must not be put through this in the middle of the academic year. Going to a good Kannada school is not a handicap, but knowing English gives children better opportunities in the liberalised world,’’ says Medical Education Minister Dr V S Acharya whose five children have been educated in Kannada-medium schools.

His colleagues who sent their children to English schools are: Public Works and Energy Minister H D Revanna, Minister for Revenue Jagadish Shettar, Transport Minister N Cheluvarayaswamy, Labour and Minority Welfare Minister Iqbal Ansari, Health Minister R Ashok, Industries Minister Katta Subramanyam Naidu, Science and Technology Minister Ramachandra Gowda, Housing Minister D T Jayakumar, Forest Minister C Chenigappa, Tourism Minister B Sriramulu, Wakf Minister Zameer Ahmed Khan and Minister for Food Govind Karjol.

Among the exceptions are Water Resources minister K S Eshwarappa and Higher Education Minister D H Shankaramurthy who sent their children to Kannada-medium schools.


Post a Comment

<< Home