Fissures in Goa coalition over medium of instruction

March 26th, 2011 - 5:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, March 26 (IANS) Fissure have begun to appear in Goa’s Congress-led coalition government over the controversy related the medium of instruction (MOI) in schools.

The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), a regional party supporting the alliance, has said that they would step out of the coalition if English is made the medium of instruction in Goa’s schools.

MGP’s working president Narayan Sawant told a news conference Saturday that the party legislators were backing Konkani and Marathi as the MOI.

“We will continue our support to the languages even at the cost of losing ministerial berth in the state government,” Sawant said.

Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate and several Catholic legislators in the state have backed English as the MOI.

“Many people are attracted towards English, but that cannot mean that we should support it with grants,” Sawant said.

“We back the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM), which has decided to launch an agitation opposing English as the medium of instruction. The MGP will mobilise mass support against English,” Dhavalikar said.

The Forum for Rights of Children’s Education (FORCE), a citizens’ front backed by a section of Catholic politicians and the clergy, has backed English and have organised massive rallies of parents, while the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM), supported by a section of the freedom fighters and rightwing protagonists have backed both Konkani and Marathi languages as a medium of instruction.

The debate in Goa 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 in schools.

The act is scheduled to be ratified in the state assembly soon.

At present the Goa government offers aid and grants only to schools in which Konkani or Marathi is used as the medium. Schools with English as the medium of instruction are not provided with government grand-in-aid.

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