ENGLISH AS THE MEDIUM OF INSTRUCTION ELLIGIBLE FOR GRANT-IN-AID by Joaquim Correia-Afonso

English as a medium of instruction at the primary level entitling schools for grant-in-aid is a local issue, affecting Goans, and can actually be easily settled or decided at the local level by the State Cabinet.  Both, “The Goa Official Language Act, 1987” and “The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009” also known as “The Right to Education Act, 2009”, state that the medium of instruction at the primary level should be “as far as possible”, the mother tongue. Yes, as far as possible or preferably, but not compulsorily, the mother tongue.
Further, the Official Language Act states that the government shall not discriminate in giving grants to educational institutions only on the grounds of language. However, the otherwise indecisive government, took a “policy decision” to go against the same Act passed by the State Legislature, in order to give grants only on the grounds of language, that is, only to institutions with vernacular (Konkani, Marathi, Kannada and Urdu, only one of them the mother tongue of Goans) as the medium of instruction and excluding English. The Right to Education Act provides for free and compulsory education to all children from the age of 6 to 14 years. It does not make it compulsory to have primary education only in the mother tongue.
If languages like Marathi, Kannada and Urdu, which are not the mother tongues of Goans, can be elligible for grants-in-aid, why not English, a national language?
One understands that Kendriya Vidyalayas as well as Bal Bhavan schools have English as the medium of instruction and still receive grants from the government.
It is claimed by the pseudo-protagonists of primary education in regional language that the objection to grants for schools with English as the medium of instruction at primary level is the development of the local language (Konkani) and protection to Goan culture. People are, however, slowly coming to realize that it is those who can afford the high fees charged by private English medium schools that are trying to deny them (those who cannot afford the high fees) empowerment through English. It is the latter that are expected to maintain tradition, ancient cultural customs and so on, while the former, with their knowledge of English, enabling them to go for higher education and obtain high posts in government offices and in private enterprises, can dominate them.
Don’t those who derive benefits of internet and mobile phones and foreign technology because of their knowledge of English, get de-culturised? Are the students of Kendriya Vidyalayas and their parents anti-national? But those striving for the same benefits are said to be de-culturised and anti-national, while the Catholics are further dubbed as pro-Portuguese. Demand for English makes you pro-Portuguese? Why are Kendriya Vidyalayas a select lot to have English as the medium of instruction and still get the benefit of government grants?
There are a number of private English medium schools from primary onwards, that are unaided. They are supposed to be governed by “The Goa Education Act, 1984” whereby the Department of Education should have control over all educational institutions, whether aided or unaided. Their fee structures have compulsorily to be approved by the Directorate of Education but they have not been reviewed for years, empowering them to charge fees as per their whims and fancies. The reasons seem obvious – one legal luminary calls them money-making institutions; one also hears that the Chief Minister is said to be a shareholder in the school board of a prominent educationist who is fighting tenaciously against the grant-in-aid to private English medium schools. One would, therefore, conclude that it is the fear of loss in the money-making business that prevents the extension of grants to these so far unaided schools.
One thing that surprises me, however, is the silence on the part of the Goa Archdiocese. One had expected the Diocesan Society of Education to come out strongly in favour of English as medium of instruction elligible for grant-in-aid, along with Konkani. Instead, the Archdiocese has allowed two priests to join hands with the protagonists of Marathi, falling into the trap of the Maharashtrawadis whose sole aim has been and continues to be the merger of Goa into Maharashtra. Maharashtra has already laid claim to the Konkani speaking areas of Karnataka surrounding Goa. If they get their hands there, then the next step will be to grab, through the process of merger, what is becoming, thanks to the skewed grant-in-aid policy, Konkani-cum-Marathi-speaking Goa.
Any committee of specialists that may be appointed by the government, or any opinion of so-called “educationists” or, still, any decision that may be “imposed” from above, cannot take away the fact that the implementation of the two Acts mentioned above is mandatory. Free education from age 6 to 14, no discrimination on the grounds of language – these two are, perhaps, the main issues affecting the hot topic under discussion and on which the decision has to be based.
As I said, the issue could have been settled by the State Cabinet. However, there seems to be no one, among the Congress ministers, who can exhibit the courage of his conviction. Hence the inability of the State Cabinet to resolve, decisively, the otherwise simple issue. So, the Congress Government in Goa, in a grand show of indecisiveness, had appealed to the Party High Command to resolve the issue of granting recognition to English as a medium of instruction at primary level qualifying for grant-in-aid. If at all a third party was needed, it should have been a local person and not an outsider, who does not understand the local conditions. But the government, fearful of taking any decision, found itself with no other choice but to appeal to the High Command, like quarrelling siblings appealing to their mother.
The High Command, in its own show of indecisiveness, sends the AICC General Secretary and in-charge of the Goa desk, Brar, as an advance party cum delaying tactic, “to give a patient hearing to the different groups fighting on the issue” and to state publicly that “the party wants to solve the issue and will take into confidence all viewpoints, in order to come out with a ‘very positive’ decision”.
In Act II of the drama of indecisiveness, the Congress High Command deputes another emissary, this time the AICC Secretary in-charge of the Goa desk, Reddy, “to take stock of the situation ahead of the meeting of stakeholders in New Delhi, so as to come out with a ‘positive solution’ to the vexed issue”.
The first emissary, Brar, didn’t take stock? Anyway, Brar’s aim was said to be to come out with a “very positive” decision, while Reddy’s aim is to come out with a “positive” solution. From “very positive” down to “positive”. Can we expect a further down-grading, with the decision in New Delhi being “negative”?
I hope and pray that we may have a very, very positive decision in favour of English.

5 comments:

Dalia said...

I do not understand why this matter should be dragged politically. What Corrupt Congress High Command has to do with the wishes of the parents? Why the corrupt CM Cowmuth want to run to Delhi and take shelter in Sonia's "pallu" all the time? Why can't this be resolved with one cabinet sitting with parents as major stake holders rather than the corrupt high command who come in to fill the bags from Goa for the party funds?
Anyone reading this comment, please ask yourself why is the mad Cowmuth educated his son in US? You can recollect that he recently came down from US and got married with showers of golden gifts. Was he learning and preaching Konkani and Marathi in US? The dumb, deaf, blind and lame Cowmuth is nothing but a coward who cannot see in the eyes of the people. Some people of Goa are nothing but opportunists, accept money at the time of elections and again vote for the same criminal. When will Goa change for better?  

A to Z said...

 Dalia you said it beautifully. The trouble with Cowmuth is that he is following the BJP's agenda by being in Congress and its a pity that most of Goans do not understand this.

Perdro Lopes said...

 @fbee97718755fcc0fa2dc841038c11ef:disqus 

You are 100% right, I agree with you, as Goa is a colony of India, for every small or big the centre is asked for advice. our Goans in power are puppet of India. Only Independence can help us, only then we Goans can decide for ourselves.

Papa Razi said...

Is he Kamat or Cowmuth? Which is the right word or his name? Is this Cowmuth wearing a Kaxtti too? It must be some NIKE kaxtti or so. who will know better? May be the one who sleeps with like a political prostitute. 

Anand Desai Mopa said...

 Goan ministers are  rich puppets of the Indian central government for sure, the feed from India will the certainly be fed to crumb eaters during election time. which is not far off.

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