Learning Kannada to be mandatory in Karnataka schools

Learning Kannada language will be mandatory in schools across Karnataka from the ensuing academic year if bills adopted in the legislative assembly on Tuesday get the president’s assent by May.

State Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Ratnakar moved the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education bill and the Kannada Language Learning bill 2015 to provide primary education (classes 1-5) in child’s mother tongue (Kannada) and enforce teaching Kannada from Class 1 to 10 in state-run and aided schools.

The state government has resorted to amending the laws after the Supreme Court recently rejected its revision petition, seeking review of its ruling which upheld a Karnataka High Court judgement striking down its 1994 order to impose Kannada or mother tongue as a medium of instruction in primary schools.

The amendment will help the state government in the apex court when the curative petition related to its language policy is taken up though the Kannada Language Learning bill needs presidential assent to become a law, as it requires a constitutional amendment.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah assured lawmakers that he would lead an all-party delegation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the need to effect a constitutional amendment for enforcing Kannada as medium of instruction for primary education.

Ratnakar also clarified that the government was leaving schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CICSE) out of the ambit of the bill, as there were only 700 such schools across the state.