2,000 schools plan to be English medium

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Bengaluru: More than 2,000 schools across the State plan to apply for English-medium registration this year, but the government is yet to take a decision on its language policy.Â

At an emergency meeting of the Associated Managements of English Medium Schools in Karnataka (KAMS) on Sunday, member institutions decided to submit applications for English-medium authorisation. The association has about 400 schools under it.Â

Further, there are about 800 schools under the Karnataka Federation for Independent Schools Management, which will also apply for authorisation.Â

The Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (KUSMA), which has more than 1,400 schools under its ambit, has already submitted applications for English-medium registration.Â

Sunday’s emergency meeting was called following an interim High Court order on November 28 directing the State government to accept applications for registration till December 5.Â

As per the original schedule of the Department of Public Instructions (DPI), the last date for application (for permissions for 2015-16) was October 31. However, the DPI issued a circular on November 11 conveying a revision in registration fees for schools.Â

The KAMS had challenged this circular on two grounds: First, it made no mention of registration for English-medium for classes I-V and, secondly, it spoke of additional infrastructure, which the schools found impractical.

The interim order directs the government not to insist upon other requirements (infrastructure) in the notification and to accept applications of schools as per the requisite fee (based on the November 11 notification).Â

Speaking to media, KAMS secretary Shashi Kumar said, “Since our prayer was also to do with the medium of instruction, we can now resubmit applications for English medium by paying the fees (specified for classes I-V, Kannada medium) mentioned in the notification.”Â

School managements have also drawn strength to ask for English-medium registration from the May 2014 Supreme Court verdict. The court had held that the government could not impose Kannada as a medium of instruction on schools in the State.Â

The apex court had asked the government not to close down English-medium schools in 2009 as well.Â

Besides, “Schools under KUSMA have been conducting English-medium classes based on a protective order from the High Court (in July 2009). This being the case, the schools have now only sought to officially register for English medium,” said K V Dhananjaya, advocate for KUSMA.Â

Kumar had written to the DPI in September asking them to uphold the Supreme Court verdict and consider permitting English-medium schools, but there was no response from the government.Â

The fate of these applications rests on the State government’s decision on the language policy, said Commissioner for Public Instruction Mohammed Mohsin. “I cannot comment on the status of the applications as it pertains to a language policy and the State government has to take a call on it,” he said.

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