English under siege!!

Few cities have been as successful as this one in parlaying knowledge of English into an economic boom, successfully leveraging the same in the growth story..

Bangalore is the world’s back office, an information-technology outsourcing champion and a jewel in India’s burgeoning economy. a news report from Los Angeles Times

The department derecognised 2,000-odd schools during the second week of September 2006 for violating the language policy of 1994. This move by state authorities threatens to tarnish that reputation. In a twist that has caught many by surprise, schools across the state face closure for making English their chosen language in the classroom. Refer this PDF on KDA ( Kannada Developement Authority) ….
The language that brought glory to the city and the business, based on 1994 court ruling that prescribes Kannada as the primary language of instruction in elementary schools. But the crackdown has triggered protest from educators who complain of infringement on academic freedom, parents who see English as the ticket to their children’s success and business leaders who warn that Bangalore could lose its competitive edge if it shuns one of its greatest assets.

The Unaided Schools Association has now decided to file a writ in the High Court against the State Government’s order derecognising schools violating the State’s language policy. Refer..

The democratic wisdom seen going so hypocratic that they have started trimming their avenues of growth, is it not the time to really understand that the growth of this city is because of it’s technical competencies completely based on ‘english’ as a medium of communication and collaboration and not the local language. Let us try and viasualize all the text books covering all subjects of the syllabus getting converted to local language and the fun associated with it!!

14 Comments so far

  1. Chitra (unregistered) on January 21st, 2007 @ 10:14 am

    So, what kind of schools are these 2000 odd schools? Can the private schools still function as is?

    This is such a tragedy.

  2. R.A. Levin (unregistered) on January 21st, 2007 @ 2:07 pm

    As an English speaker, primarily, it’s hard to weigh in on this subject without sounding like I’m being prejudiced, or self-hating on the other hand.
    So here I go……
    It’s been proven time after time that bilingual education goes much further in opening a developing mind than merely filling it with two languages. It helps the brain develop intellectually and one recent study actually said that being bilingual can extend one’s longevity (!)
    Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your place of birth, English has become the “lingua franca” in the IT industry. Due to this fact, parents who want the most opportunities for their children are quite right to be protesting. If the kids are in Bangalore, they should also be learning Kannada. Running a 6,000 year old language down the drain, simply for the benefit of economic growth would be outright criminal.
    Being bilingual gives kids the ability to be anything they want to be as children and into adulthood.
    Insularity will stunt the growth of more than an industry. It will have a negative impact all way ’round.
    Just my two Rs on the subject. Hopefully it will not be of offence to anyone. My apologies if it is.



  3. VS (unregistered) on January 21st, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

    Hey Dangi dude, why do u want to beat up a dead horse? Grow up dude.. you are seriously bringing down the quality of bangalore metblogs. Try and learn from silkboard, Ravikumar .. hope this helps :-)

  4. Naveen (unregistered) on January 21st, 2007 @ 6:35 pm

    I think the state board students already have a trilingual system in place – English, Kannada and Hindi upto 7th standard and Sanskrit as an optional in place of Hindi from 8th standard onwards. Most reputed English medium schools, as far as I know, follow this system.
    For schools which are not following this system, the govt. should insist on a bilingual education with the medium of instruction in the non-language courses being English. This way, we won’t lose out on the economic perspective as well as the cultural perspective.
    There’s nothing wrong in learning the language of the land, and there’s nothing wrong in learning the language of business. Why can’t both the stakeholders (parents and schools on one side and the govt. on the other) arrive at this compromise?

  5. Arun (unregistered) on January 21st, 2007 @ 7:16 pm

    Rajesh, VS has a point about the dead horse.

    And as far as I understand, the state gov is closing down schools that are teaching English illegally, not the ones that have the right permit. These schools took permit to teach in Kannada but switched over to English without proper permits and they deserve action against them. They are not saying bye-bye to all English schools in the state.

    Whether Kannada or English or both or neither should be taught in school is another topic altogether, and need not be linked to the issue. And I would not take the trouble to bring up this discussion here and open up a can of worms.

    Besides, state gov has never said no to teaching English in school, and on the contrary is trying to make English compulsory in all schools from day one. Your words “democratic wisdom seen going so hypocratic” are strongly worded and opinionated and if I may say, undemocratic. Please be more rational, do not just stick to a view point and project it but try to think in all directions, and also get your facts and news right than hanging on to opinions.

  6. Rajesh (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 8:43 am

    VS, Thanks for the compliment! pls do dare to write your name and email address if you wish to have a dialouge, i still respect the anonimity if it is inline with the issue and does not get personal.

    More over to the subject matter, there is a confusion there, the closure is being faced by those schools who have their Medium of teaching as ‘English’. the subject ‘english’ teaching is not on the radar. The schools when started told the govt that they will teach everyone and all ‘subjects’ via kannada as a medium to teach and obviously started teaching via ‘english’.

  7. Kariya (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 10:16 am

    Dear Rajesh,
    Your subject “English under siege!!” sounds crazy for me, It should have bean “Illegal schools under siege”. Let me clarify you that the schools which was given notice last year is just because they violated the laws, These guys took a permit to teach in kannada medium and they were teaching in english medium, don’t you feel it is illegal what schools were doing??????????? If English under siege there would have been more than 30000 schools closedown but that din happen

    One more thing you better understand that “as an outsider never try to criticize the local language or culture or something else where you don’t deserve to do so”
    you are here to earn your bread and butter & not to play with local sentiments.

  8. VS (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 10:59 am

    Dear Rajesh,
    name: Vijay S, (Don’t want to give out my last name.. some guy in a BPO might use it to track down my SSN and ^&** me royally in the rear :-) )
    email: vs331@hotmail.com
    Born and brought up in basavanagudi, bengalooru. Currently living in US.

    If u need my address and tel no lemme know. I apologize if I hurt you’r feelings. Don’t take it too personally man.
    This issue of english medium/kannada medium schools is an old one, and if you know anything about Indian politics you will know why it cropped up in the first place. Politicians want to wield their power and for that purpose they bring up these kind of issues, particularly sensitive/populist ones where they know they can get lot of media mileage. For them any kind of publicity is good publicity. I’m pretty sure the schools closure issue will be neatly swept under the carpet.. Do you know how many schools have been closed and will stay closed forever due to this issue? My guess is at most they may close one or two just for the heck of it :-)
    Just look at the recent Shivajinagar violence.. Jaffer Sharief, Dharam Singh etc were nowhere to be seen and they sense that people might start forgetting them. So they cook up some issue (Saddam hanging!! ), create trouble and abracadabra they are back in the news again. Same goes for VHP folks..
    So my initial feeling about ur post was along these lines. Posting some populist/sensitive issue that you know for sure that will bring strong for/against opinions, just to increase your media (blog) mileage. From the posts of other people at B’lore metblogs, what I gather is that the agenda of b’lore metblogs is not that. That is why I pointed you to the posts of Silkboard, Ravikumar etc as an example.
    If you need a one on one dialogue on any matter, just email me man.

    Take care.

  9. Rajesh (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 11:00 am

    Kariya, The subject line is not what I report, is being reported worldwide by the media. Why do you need to get personal? is that anything i triggered or am putting up my opinion just like you can. I am not here to critizie the culture, local language as I am now part of it just like any other Bangalorean. don’t give this bad taste to the topic.

    As a citizen of india I do have my right of freedom of speech and right to work anywhere in the country abiding the laws and contribute a huge tax which runs the govt from my earning’s.

    Mind well, many of the ‘local’s were also not locals as their forefathers moved from various parts of the counry and state to make this a city…
    Apologies if I have hurt any of your feeling’s indirectly, these are just facts reported with my opinion arising out of reports i see in the media. Also pls note that these are from ‘local’ journalist who write in the ‘local’ newspapers about ‘local’ issues that have direct impact on everyone here. pls read through the links in the article to understand the impact of the policy which should eb your concern and not running after individuals who bring it to yoru notice.

    I am proud of Bangalore as much as you are and more importantly ‘An Indian’ by birth.

  10. Rajesh (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 11:05 am

    &VS, it’s nice of you to write. Thanks for the understanding we all know who plays and who dies…

    My intention on metblogs is not painint this beautiful city dark, pls go through all my blogs and you will see that I love and care of this city as you would be…

    looking forward to your inputs on all my posts and articles!!


  11. VS (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 11:30 am

    The issue is not of painting b’lore dark. You are more than welcome to describe b’lore as a shit hole that it ( or any other city in the world for that matter) truly is. Any person is entitled to his/her opinion and has every right to express that opinion. It would be really great if you could post topics that you can’t get anywhere else in the main stream media. As it is most of the news papers/ websites publish the same drivel. Just look at rediff.com, ibnlive.com, cricketnext.com etc and their forums and you will get and idea as to what I am trying to convey here. The so called news articles they have in those websites will make you puke.

  12. Rajesh (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 11:55 am

    Got it, in my thinking I pick up issues which I feel needs attention and has an impact directly or indirectly on anyone associated with Bangalore, if that is published or not is not the focus. These facts need a forum and this metblog could be the ideal option…another interesting point here is that you can share your idea’s and inputs here which other media sites may not provide or entertain…


  13. R.A. Levin (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

    The point that a few people are missing, is that there are some stories that get buried in the back pages of international periodicals. This was one of them.
    Metroblogs are read by people all over the globe. So as a “phoren” what right do I have to weigh in occaisionally? For the same reason that the public is interested in what happens in Rome, New York, Tokyo etc. Bangalore is a “World City” as much as the others I’ve mentioned. It’s an enviable and un-enviable position. I lived in Los Angeles long enough to know the in’s and out’s of that.
    This is a blog and not necessarily the Herald, so, like the op/ed pages, Rajesh and all of the other writers have a right to express an opinion. If you agree or not, there’s always this handy little box to type into at the bottom of the page. :)
    Ahhh! The Internet! Gotta’ love it.

  14. Rajesh (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 1:31 pm


    Robert, you bet!!

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