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TN schools avoiding teaching Tamil
S Ramaswamy in Chennai |
May 13, 2005 19:35 IST
Not teaching Tamil, the official language of Tamil Nadu, in some schools is at the centre of a major controversy brewing in the state on the sensitive language issue, which had unseated Congress from power in the state in 1967.
Tamil Nadu adopted the two-language formula-- mother tongue or regional language and English-- in 1968 after DMK came to power the previous year on anti-Hindi plank.
The schools have now taken refuge under a Government Order issued then which stated that the first language of students should be either the regional language (Tamil) or their mother tongue.
With the state having a sizeable population speaking Telegu, Malayalam and Urdu, the students preferred their mother tongue as the first language, ending up without learning the official language of the state.
The DMK government altered the 1968 order in 1997, making teaching of Tamil compulsory from nursery to standard 8, which had been challenged in the Supreme Court by some minority institutions on the plea that their fundamental right had been infringed.
In a bid to set right the anomaly, the AIADMK government in 2003 introduced a new subject - Ariviyal Tamizh (Scientific Tamil) as a compulsory subject to all school going children from standard one to ten.
The government even supplied the books for this free of cost but in most of the schools the subject was never taught, educationalists say.
The schools adopting the Central Board of Secondary Education syllabus, which are growing in number, did not take the issue seriously at all and are not teaching this subject, many Tamil scholars said.
They said these schools offered Hindi, Sanskrit and French besides Tamil as the first language but most of the parents opted either for Hindi or French as they felt that would help their wards get employment outside the state.
However, managements of these schools flatly denied this and said they offered Tamil as a third language, much against the state government's avowed two language formula.
The Pattali Makkal Katchi, a constituent of the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre, along with Dalit Panthers of India, Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam and Tamil Nationalist forum of P Nedumaran, which had recently formed the 'Tamil Protection forum', alleged the state government had not done anything to teach Tamil compulsorily in the state.
PMK president G K Mani recently told the state assembly that in neighbouring Karnataka, an Act had been passed that no student could come out of schools in that state without learning Kannada. He wanted such an act in the state also.
However, Tamil Nadu Education Minister C V Shanmugam had disputed his charge. He said Ariviyal Tamizh was being taught as a compulsory subject and even examinations were held.
The craze for English medium is fast catching up in the state and due to demands from parents even the government high and higher secondary schools have opened English medium sections. The demand for opening more sections are increasing, education department officials said.