India’s move to drop German as an alternative to Sanskrit as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas prompted German chancellor Angela Merkel to raise the issue on Sunday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi who assured her of looking at it within the confines of the Indian system.
During a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Merkel raised the issue with Modi besides inviting him to visit Germany.
“Merkel did raise the issue of teaching German language in Indian schools. She raised in a manner requesting the PM to have a look in it and see what would be the best way forward… The PM assured her (Merkel) that he himself is the votary of young Indian children learning other languages,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
The German Ambassador to India, Michael Steiner, has already raised the issue with the Indian government, hoping for a “pragmatic” solution.
As the human resource development ministry has decided to drop the German language, over 70,000 students across 500 Kendriya Vidyalayas from classes 6 to 8 are supposed to be asked to switch from German to Sanskrit.
The 2011 MoU that made German a third language was signed between the Kendriya Vidyalayas and Goethe Institute-Max Mueller Bhawan.
Union HRD minister Smriti Irani has defended the move, saying the existing arrangement was in violation of the three-language formula. She, however, said German would continue to be taught as an “additional subject of hobby class”.
In the three-language formula, schools teach Hindi, English and a modern Indian language.
Sanskrit teachers had moved the Delhi high court alleging that the central schools had introduced German as a third language in place of Sanskrit, and that this was against the education policy.