Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday launched a blistering attack on Right to Education (RTE) Act,claiming that it was a bogus system through which private institutions are minting money on a big scale. Kumaraswamy was addressing the 84th Kannada Sahitya Sammelan in Dharwad. RTE was legislated and launched nationally by his coalition partner Congress in 2009.
Kumaraswamy said while RTE, while ostensibly introduced with the aim of providing education to all, has only helped private institutions flourish at the expense of state run schools. "More than 1.5 lakh students fees were paid by the government and they are studying in private English medium schools under RTE," he added.
Kumaraswamy staunchly defended his decision to to introduce English medium in state run schools. He said that while he was fiercely committed to protecting and promoting Kannada language, he is duty bound to consider the “future of the children”. He said the decision to introduce English in government schools was not a knee-jerk reaction but a well-thought-out decision.
Late last year (Oct 18), the state government, in a move aimed at attracting students to enrol in government schools, ordered the opening of English-medium sections in Kannada medium schools for lower primary classes. The order made it mandatory for government schools to teach English in upper primary classes and offer a choice of English medium education in state schools.
Kumaraswamy argued that imparting education in the regional language to one section of society and in English to another had deeply polarised the society. He pointed out that while the children of the privileged sections had access to quality education, the children of underprivileged sections were deprived of it.
Kumaraswamy bemoaned that youth, especially those hailing from the backward areas of the State, are unable to realise their career potential and it would be unfair to deprive any child from accessing quality education under the garb of linguistic pride. He urged the experts, educationists, and writers to come forward with practical suggestions, taking ground realities into consideration.
Kumaraswamy highlighted that the decline of Kannada language is due to the all pervasive domination of English. "After the Supreme Court's verdict Kannada medium schools have been converted into English medium schools. Due to English, Rajbhasha Kannada is vanishing. Let's do a resolution that private convents and English medium schools in the state should be privatised. If this was not taken seriously then there is no future of regional languages," he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelana president and noted literary figure Chandrashekhar Kambar advocated that primary education from pre-primary and classes 1 to 7 should be run by the government in Kannada medium and private schools should be permitted to impart education only from class VIII and above. He said this is the only roadmap to save Kannada