Learning Kannada not compulsory under NEP: Union government to HC

  • Learning Kannada not compulsory under NEP: Union government to HC.
Karnataka High Court (PTI File Photo)
Karnataka High Court (PTI File Photo)
Published on Mar 10, 2022 06:37 PM IST
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By, Bengaluru

 Union government has informed the Karnataka High Court that the state government can't make learning Kannada compulsory for undergraduate students as per the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. It further added that NEP makes no mention of any mandatory language learning.

The submission was made in the affidavit filed before the Karnataka High Court by Dinesh T Pali, Under-secretary, Department of Higher Education (Ministry of Education), while the court was hearing a petition filed by a group of students as well as a PIL filed by Samskrita Bharati (Karnataka) Trust, Bengaluru, and three other institutions associated with the promotion of Sanskrit language.

The petitioners have claimed that compelling students to learn Kannada as a language is quite opposite to the very objective of National Education Policy 2020. In the last hearing, the state government had contended that making Kannada a compulsory language was a policy decision in tune with the recommendations of the VK Gokak Committee report.

In the affidavit, Pali said that NEP is intended to achieve a comprehensive educational system for citizens while keeping local, regional, and national aspirations in mind. "The policy must be understood, interpreted, and implemented while keeping in mind the broad objectives enshrined in the Constitution," the affidavit said.

"Paragraph 22.10 specifically states that higher education institutions will use mother tongue/local language as the medium of instruction and/or offer bilingually. Paragraph 23.6 envisions making a wide range of educational software available to students and teachers at all levels, in all major Indian languages. All states will continue to develop teaching-learning e-content in all regional languages, as will the NCERT, CIET, CBSE, NIOS, and other bodies/institutions, and will be uploaded to the DIKSHA platform," centre's affidavit quoted.

Meanwhile, a division bench led by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi adjourned the hearing to April 4 in response to the Advocate-General's request.

They have also requested that the government order requiring interstate and international degree students pursuing graduate prog program "Functional Kannada" in one of the first year semesters be revoked, claiming that it is an ordeal for a student who has never spoken a single word of Kannada in their lives.

On December 16, 2021, the High Court issued an order prohibiting the state government and Bengaluru University from taking any precipitous action in the matter. The state government, on the other hand, defended the decision, claiming that students from other states would only be required to learn Functional Kannada for a year.

In August 2021, Karnataka has become the first state in the country to issue the order with regard to the implementation of National Education Policy 2020.


    Arun Dev is an Assistant Editor with the Karnataka bureau of Hindustan Times. A journalist for over 10 years, he has written extensively on crime and politics.

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