What the Medium-of-Instruction Ruckus Betrays

The Karnataka High Court has passed its verdict on the issue of medium of instruction, giving a carte blanche to businessmen to run English medium schools if they wish to. The Indian Express reports on 3rd July:

In a significant judgment on the language policy in the primary education system of Karnataka, a Division Bench of the High Court on Wednesday scrapped portions of a 1994 Government order making Kannada or a mother tongue the mandatory medium of education in all primary schools recognised by the Government.

English media is mostly calling this as a step towards victory in a globalized world. But in reality, both English media and these "educators" have made it clear that the welfare of the state is simply absent from their list of priorities. Why? Because it is an established scientific fact that education is most effective in Kannada for Kannadigas. The goal of these "educators" and English media is not the good education of Kannadigas. They're just bent upon making a quick buck from creating an aura of sanctity around English and fooling the gullible Kannadiga parent. While the "educators" get an immediate market, the English media is assured of a market when the children start learning English, albeit slowly. The further Kannadigas go away from Kannada, the greater their profit! Also, it is only a weak mind leaning on converting the whole of Karnataka into a call-centre that can conjure up the theory that English can single-handedly take us to appalling heights in this globalized world. Stronger minds bank on real knowledge which can be provided only through one's own language. What can sustain us in the global scenario is not a cesspool of fakers trying to imitate accents, but a well-organized system of education which is possible only in our own language.

Kannada media and Kannadiga thinkers, on the other hand, are calling this whole thing as a death-blow to Kannada and doing nothing other than shedding emotional tears. This betrays their helpless feeling that Kannada can continue to exist only by the application of force. That whole thinking process is flawed. Instead, the so-called Kannadiga thinkers must seriously consider establishing the necessary high-quality institutions and training programmes to provide every kind and level of education in Kannada itself. If the Israels, the Germanys, the Japans, the Chinas of the world can do it, why can't Karnataka? One is reminded of the way the Technion in Israel started off in Hebrew-medium at a time when Modern Hebrew was being spoken by a precious few in Israel, and even lacked words needed for common day-to-day usage! The Technion is a premier institute of technology in the world, and even to this day provides top-class engineering education in Hebrew. Kannada is not in such a sorry state today as Hebrew was in 1912, not by any measure! Yet, because our thinkers and planners lack strong will-power, we Kannadigas have taken for granted that Kannada education is only for children in rural areas. Not for adults, not for urban areas. This very assumption is leading us from darkness to darkness.

One can choose to pardon the shortsightedness of the handful of petty hawkers who are creating all this hue and cry about medium of instruction to ensure the day's meal. But the Government of Karnataka cannot be pardoned for the disregard with which it is viewing education in Kannada. The Government is failing to realize that with the slow disrespect for Kannada which is creeping into the creme de la creme of Karnataka, the state is headed towards death. At least the Government should stop acting like a petty hawker looking at securing the day's meal, and invest in longer-term projects and initiatives! At least the Government should dare to dream big!

Where are the real statesmen who understand that it is Kannada which can improve the lives of Kannadigas? Where are the real statesmen who can dream like the Israelis and set up Kannada-Technions? Are they all dead? Have they all sold their souls?


Anonymous said...

I am literally in tears after reading this post. I have studied in Kannada medium for 10 long years. I am working for a top notch MNC in America since last 10 years. I have never felt that I did something wrong by studying in a Kannada Medium School.

This whole game by Media and greedy businessmen is a death bell for Karnataka. Every brave Kannadiga should question the state government and pressurise it to take on those greedy people and safe guard the state's interests.

Govt must work on setting up our own Kannada Technion. We are with you in all your initiatives in this regard.

Priyank said...

Appreciate your thoughts.
Widespread feeling that the judgement is a death blow is really a flawed way of thinking.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ravikumar. Even I studied in Kannada medium for 10 years. Now I am working in a reputed MNC. Even though I studied in Kannada medium, I never felt difficulty while conveying my thoughts, ideas in my professional life or in the daily life using English. Its a great misconception that people who study in Kannada medium will have difficulty while conversing or understanding English. First of all this mentality of the parents should change. More and more parents should send their children to Kannada medium schools and should encourage their children to learn "ಅ ಅಗಸ" rather than "A for apple".

Anonymous said...

can anyone tell me who were the judges what thier origin is? I believe they would not be kannadigas.. secondly, is the same judgement applicable to different states? in TN and Maha ICSE and CBSE shools should teach local language.. does this mean that if i migrate to Mumbai i have to learn Marathi and if a tamil or any other person migrates to karnataka has no necessity to learn kannada?
this is indeed death blow to kannada ,the states in india are created on language basis and the judgement says that it is not necessary for a state language to be used in schools? this is my understanding as a layman.. i request experts to press the govt to move the SC on this issue.

Anonymous said...

I remember the fuss that was created by the liberals when they said by changing the name to "Bengaluru" bangalore will lose its position in the world. We were told that the world will not recognise the change in name and we will be lost. Pilots will not know where to land their planes ! And many will be misled into thinking Bengaluru is in bengal and so the main beneficiaries will be bengalis.
Bangalore will lose its position in the international arena and it was a regressive step in a globlised world !

To be frank , given bangalore's status , even I thought it may not be the right thing to do now , may be sometime later.

But what really happened ? I was pleasantly surprised to see Google Earth displaying our name as "Bengaluru". Yahoo Maps also followed suit. Planes continue to land on time and foreigners proudly tell me "Bengaluru" letting me know they are up to date and in tune with a globalized world (where local is global in as much as global is local). Nobody except liberals think Bengaluru is in Bengal.

What this shows is if you are proud of your mother tongue , others will also take pride in learning it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Harish, Hats off to you for posting the point so clearly. thats the way to express a point of view. I am so confident that with the awareness spreading far and wide, we can see a Kannada Convent in the heart of Bangalore in 5 years of time. Our university will then emerge and attin the fame which Technion has bagged.

ಪುಟ್ಟ PUTTA said...

I too studied in Kannada medium till 5th std and am proud of that. Perhaps I can speak better English than many of those who are convent educated. I think primary education should be compulsorily in Kannada and then should have the option of either English or Kannada.

Anonymous said...

Very well said Harish.
I am very much impressed with your articulation of thoughts.

Mail me at shobha.koppad@gmail.com so that we can discuss such things.

Anonymous said...

Kannada should be made a compulsory language for anyone who studies in Karnataka, whatever the board or medium of instruction is!

Nefarious attempts are being made to violate even the little federalism that is present in the constitution by suggesting that there should be only one board of education in India. Such outrageous bullshit should never be tolerated! Education is in the concurrent list of the constitution, which means the states have a right to decide their education policy. It should be moved to the state list, so that only the states decide what is taught!

Tamil Nadu follows the two language policy and only Tamil and English are taught as compulsory languages whether it is an English medium school or a Tamil medium school. If the Hindi fascists and their boot-lickers try to interfere with this two-language policy, it will be resisted by violent means! The people of Tamil Nadu will decide the syllabus of ALL subjects that are taught here. If the Hindi fascists and their boot-lickers try to interfere with the educational rights (which is a part of Human Rights) of the people of Tamil Nadu, it will be resisted by any means, including violent ones!

Unknown said...

Dear all..

I too completed my Primary school and High school education in Kannada medium..I am very happy to say that I am a Kannada medium student..
I am very proud to say that my communication in English is far better than my colleagues who studied in English medium..

Anonymous said...

My dad made sure that I got my primary education in Kannada medium... That did nt make me any less competent. My basics are clear and I know the beauty of my mother tongue too. Is there a way we all can make it clear to those misled parents who think education in english is the only way for a secure future?

I happened to listen to the speech given by the judge/justice who gave the ruling that kannada need not be the primary medium of education recently on chandana.. He is a proper tamilian n his speech was in english. This guy said somethin stupid like this: "I have never felt like an outsider in karnataka. I always feel i'm insider and other people are outsiders". He expected people to laugh at this, but no one did. This speech was given during inaugration of sanchari peetha in HubLi.. I'm now very much sure that this judge has no knowledge of our language. Karnataka government must either bring in an ordinance or appeal to supreme court. I'm all for ordinance...

Anonymous said...

I strongly agree with the medium of instruction being in Kannada. I also agree that knowledge and communication in English is essential, at least in some industries. I believe the problem is not with the medium of instruction but the teaching techniques used to teach English. I have all respect for the English language teachers in Kannada medium schools but as it is a second language, teaching techniques used should be different.

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