English, regional languages battle it out in Goa


Panaji: The battle between English and regional languages as the medium of instruction in Goa is heating up.

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After thousands of supporters of the English language as the medium of instruction for school students marked their turf Monday, a new front Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM) has vowed to back regional languages Konkani and Marathi.

The BBSM, which comprises freedom fighters, a former chief minister and a section of the clergy, has now threatened a statewide agitation against making English as the medium of instruction.

“We want the education minister to resign for being part of a meeting which demanded that English should be made the medium of instruction,” former chief minister Shashikala Kakodkar said.

Underlining the importance of the mother tongue, Kakodkar said a massive statewide agitation would be organised by the BBSM to “end attempts made by vested interests towards cultural annihilation of Goa and de-linking Goa from the national mainstream”.

On Monday, thousands of people, mostly parents of school-going children and nearly all of the state’s Catholic legislators, converged in the capital, demanding state grants to primary schools offering English as medium of instruction.

The rally organised by the Forum for Rights of Children’s Education (FORCE), comes against the backdrop of the central Right to Education (RTE) Act, which envisions the child’s mother tongue — in Goa’s case Konkani — as the medium of instruction. The act is scheduled to be ratified in the state legislative assembly soon.

The meeting also demanded that the state government should de-link grants from medium of instruction clause and that grants should also be given to schools offering English as a medium of instruction, not just Konkani or Marathi.