Herald: Medium of Instruction issue

Medium of Instruction issue

06 Aug 2015 02:03am IST
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06 Aug 2015 02:03am IST

The MoI (medium of instruction) issue is again making headlines. The recent agitation by FORCE with its secretary going on an indefinite  hunger strike at Azad Maidan and blocking of roads all over Goa by activists appears to have upped the ante, with the self-styled BBSM (Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch) a disparate group of supporters of regional languages including Konkani and Marathi opposing grants for English medium schools.

Their demand is that grants should be given only to primary schools that impart education in regional languages which are included in the Eight Schedule of the Indian constitution. Experts have opined that imparting education in the mother tongue is most ideal. Therefore, the demand of the so-called BBSM is untenable. For a majority of those who have opted for Marathi medium for their children are Konkani speaking. 

Their mother tongue is Konkani but they have been persuaded by Marathi language protagonists to opt for Marathi medium of instruction. They have no right to oppose grants for English medium schools as they too have disowned their mother tongue and opted for another language as medium of instruction.

What is particularly intriguing is that Konkani language protagonists like Uday Bhembre and Arvind Bhatikar have ganged up with known Konkani antagonists like Subhash Velingkar who is a known diehard Marathi protagonist. While there can be no two opinions that Konkani should continue to be the only official language of Goa, it must be reiterated that parents are the ones who should decide about their children's future.

If grants are to be stopped, let them be stopped for all schools that do not impart schooling in the official language of the state, Konkani. Let only schools that impart educational education at the primary level in Konkani be eligible to receive grants.

The threat by BBSM that it will not allow the amendment to the state education act to allow continued grants to English medium primary schools is an empty threat. In fact it's decision to launch a so-called state-wide agitation appears more an attempt to test its strength and possibly a launch pad for its demand to grant official status for Marathi in Goa.

This demand is highly ludicrous in tiny Goa, with most Goans speaking Konkani. It is interesting to note that even in a large state like Maharasthra, Marathi the language of the majority is the sole official language, even though Urdu speaking people in that state number a few million.

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