BANGALORE: Striking a delicate balance, chief minister Siddaramaiah on Friday batted to make the mother tongue compulsory in primary schooling, while underlining the importance of English.
The CM was speaking at the Karnataka Rajyotsava celebrations organized by the public instruction department at Kanteerava Stadium. \"I am of the opinion that making mother tongue (Kannada) compulsory for primary schooling is good. The medium of education has run into controversies over the years. Our government\'s stand on this is clear. Neither should we impose any language on children nor stop them from learning any language.\'\'
\"There is no doubt that English is a window to the world, but we can\'t give it undue importance. Today, English has become a symbol of prestige rather than just a language. Convents are creating pseudo personalities by not teaching English properly. We need English. But to what extent and how, is the question. One should understand the difference between a language and the medium of instruction in schools. Teaching English has become a huge industry today, though not many are effectively teaching the language,\" he added.
Stressing that English should be taught as a subject from the primary level and all other subjects in the mother tongue, he said: \"It is unscientific to say one cannot teach subjects in the vernacular. One of the greatest scientists of our times, CNR Rao, studied Science in his mother tongue.\"
Siddaramaiah said his government is committed to teaching English as a language from Class 1, as it helps children fare better in the competitive world. \"We should strengthen Kannada medium schools and make them attractive with quality teaching so that parents admit their kids here,\" he added.
The CM also promised that the government wouldn\'t close Kannada schools, irrespective of poor attendance or other reasons. \"The system of education and departmental failure are equally responsible for the sad state of affairs pertaining to Kannada schools. We will set things right soon to make Kannada schools attractive,\" he added.
BE PROUD, EXHORTS CM
The CM called upon Kannadigas to introspect when it comes to language. \"It\'s true we are open-hearted. But it doesn\'t mean we should be quiet and not show pride towards the mother tongue,\" he added.
Siddaramaiah also called on people who\'ve come from other states and settled here to learn the local language. \"Learning the language of the state is important when you\'re enjoying its facilities,\" he added.
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