Goa Church backs English as teaching medium

March 30th, 2011 - 2:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, March 30 (IANS) The Goa Church, which runs more than 100 educational institutions in the state, has backed English as a medium of instruction while supporters of regional languages plan to stage a mammoth rally against it.

The Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE), in an official statement issued here Wednesday, said English should also be permitted as the medium of instruction besides Konkani, Marathi or a regional language in aided primary schools.

“The actual demand of parents, specifically with regard to aided primary schools, is that English should also be permitted as the medium of instruction, besides Konkani, Marathi/regional language, according to the parents’ choice; and that Marathi/Konkani should continue as one of the compulsory subjects throughout elementary education,” the ABE has said.

The church has supported the Forum for Rights of Children’s Education (FORCE), a parents’ front backed by a section of Catholic politicians and the clergy, which wants English as the teaching medium.

But the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM), supported by a section of freedom fighters and rightwing protagonists, has backed both Konkani and Marathi languages as a medium of instruction.

BBSM has planned a rally against the move April 6.

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. 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. Schools with English as the medium of instruction are not provided government grant-in-aid.

The ABE in its statement said that while English should be the language of instruction in schools, Konkani should be made a compulsory language, so that newer generations are in sync with their culture.

“The Archdiocesan Board of Education has decided, after careful deliberations, that this demand is in the best interests of the Konkani language and culture; and, in the specific circumstances of Goa in 2011, it is also in the best interests of the children, especially from poorer sections,” the pressnote stated.

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