Updated: July 11, 2018 9:24:04 am
An attempt by Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to attract more students to government-run schools by introducing English as a medium of instruction — as promised by the JD(S) in its manifesto — has run into trouble, with several Kannada literary figures and the head of Kannada Development Authority opposing the plan.
Kumaraswamy announced the plan in his budget speech on July 5. “English medium classes will be commenced along with the existing Kannada medium classes in Government Kannada Primary Schools. With this, more children can be attracted to the Government schools. Initially, it will be experimented in 1,000 schools,” he said.
The announcement, however, was not welcomed by chairman of Kannada Development Authority and noted writer S G Siddaramaiah, and several other prominent personalities like writers Chandrashekhar Kambar and Chandrashekhar Patil and freedom fighter H S Doreswamy. A delegation of writers and intellectuals called on Kumaraswamy on July 7 and asked him to reconsider the decision. They told Kumaraswamy that introducing English as a medium of instruction in rural areas would curb the creative learning skills of children and subject them to a straitjacketed form of education.
Following the meeting, the Chief Minister stated that the government would ratify its decision and ensure that English is taught as a language and that it would not be introduced as a medium of instruction at the primary level, as stated in the budget speech. “The move will not harm the Kannada language in any way. The coalition government will protect the land, language and culture of Karnataka,” he assured the delegation.
Before meeting Kumaraswamy last week, the Kannada Development Authority chairman and other writers had considered the option of launching an agitation.
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