Bengaluru: From the next academic year, all students who join ICSE/ CBSE syllabus classes must study Kannada as one of their languages.
With governor Mr Vajubhai Vala signing the Kannada Language Learning Act 2015, Kannada will become one of the compulsory subjects in all schools of the state irrespective of the affiliation of the school.
This bill was passed by the state legislature last year but was now approved by the governor. Speaking to this newspaper, an officer from the state education department informed that recently, they got confirmation in this regard from the governor's office.
According to the officials, this Act was passed by the state legislature following a Supreme Court order quashing the nearly 3 decade old language policy adopted by the state government. Under the Act, all the schools must introduce Kannada as one of the languages in a phased manner for their students.
I or II language
According to the school heads who spoke to Deccan Chronicle, presently various languages are taught to students as per their request. "Majority of students prefer foreign languages at secondary level. We are not sure about this new Act passed by the state government. We will wait for an official communication in this regard," said a principal of a CBSE school.
March 19, 2015: State cabinet approves the proposal of the Kannada Language Learning Act 2015.
March 31: state legislature passes the bill
Highlights of the bill
An Act to provide and ensure learning of Kannada as one of the language in all schools in Karnataka.
Kannada language shall be taught as a compulsory language in all classes, in all schools in the state, either as a first language or as a second language in a phased manner.Those schools which are not teaching Kannada as a first and second language, shall introduce Kannada as first or second language in Standard-I from the academic year 2015-16 and in the standard I and II in the academic year 2016-17. In a phased manner, it shall be extended upto Xth standard.A student who has not opted for his mother tongue (other than Kannada) as First or Second Language may study his mother tongue as Third Language.
The legal view
The state government could impose the regional language as a compulsory subject of study in all schools. So, imposition of Kannada as a compulsory subject is lawful. However, it cannot make the regional language the compulsory medium of education. In 2004, in the Usha Mehta case, the Supreme Court upheld Maharashtra Government's policy of Marathi as a compulsory subject for all school children in Maharashtra- even linguistic minorities.