What the Courts said on MoI

By Cleofato A Coutinho
27 May 2011 00:18 IST

The government’s decision to release grants for primary education in English has divided the state vertically. The decision ought to have been welcomed as a progressive step keeping in tune with the overwhelming demand of parents, just like the Maharashtra Government’s decision to permit opening of 2100 English Medium Schools in rural areas.

That the way the government decision was arrived at has not been very healthy is a different issue. The decision though is reasonable and pragmatic is seen as a result of blackmail.

It has been argued that grants to primary schools in English is not a matter of right. It is also argued that the choice of the parents should not burden the state exchequer. But giving of grants and refusal of grants can also not be arbitrary.  It is very interesting to note how the Supreme court and the other High courts have viewed the matter.

The Supreme Court in (AIR 1974 SC 1389) said:

“The parental right in education is the very pivotal point of a democratic system. It is the touch stone of difference between democratic education and monolithic system of cultural totalitarianism”. 

Taking that  view further, the Karnataka High Court (1989 AIR Kant 226) holds:

“It is universally recognized that it is the parental right to have primary education of their children in the school and language of their choice… the state cannot curtail that right and liberty…”

This issue of medium of instruction came up before the full bench of the Madras High Court, which decided on 20th April 2000. One of the question before the court was whether right to education would include right to choose the medium of instruction and whether parents can exercise such a right on behalf of the child.

The court took into account 26(3) of the Human Rights Declaration, which states parents have the right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to the children and after making a complete survey of the fundamental rights and the directive principles and Article 343, which deals with official language of India and Official language Act 1963.

The court concluded:  “the right to education is a fundamental right, which also includes the right to choose the medium of instruction and it can be exercised by the parents on behalf of the children”.

The court further opined … “ certainly, it cannot be said the that nation’s image and dignity will be affected as the language English has already accepted by this nation as an associate language. No one claim to know better than parent of the child, to decide, as to what the child requires in the sphere of education and such a decision they take keeping their duty in mind to shape the career and destiny of the child”.

The full bench of the Madras High Court approvingly quoted Charles Darwin: “the future will always be for those fit to survive. It is not the strongest of the species  that survive; not the most intelligent but the most responsive to change”.

Earlier, another  division bench of the Karnataka High Court (K.L.J.19) held:

“the choice of medium of instruction is primary for the parents to decide…. In a city like Bangalore, it is not possible to limit any particular locality as that of a particular institution. In other words, , it cannot be held that a particular institution would be catering to the resident of particular locality. It is well known that Bangalore is a cosmopolitan and  multilingual city. Having regard to multiplicity of the languages spoken to and to need to have  new link language, it cannot be said that the desire of the parents to impart education to their children in a well known international language like English cannot be by passed, forgetting the realities of life”.

A full bench referred of the Karnataka High Court (AIR 1989 Kant 266) was constituted to consider validity of the order making the study of Kannada, the official language of the state in addition to the mother tongue and prescribing Kannada as the sole first language in the Karnataka. 

Three senior Justices  Rama Jois, Balakrishnan and Rajendra Babu held:

(1) Primary education must be in mother tongue, if that happens to be the choice of the parents.

(2) Regional/official language could be introduced as a second language at Senior Primary level.

(3) Regional/Official Language could be one of the three languages for study in the High School.

In fact the Rama Jois and Rajendra Babu opines: We do agree that the demand for primacy to Kannada in this State is most reasonable and laudable too, but that it had resulted in the passing of the impugned order which apart from being violative of the provisions of the Constitution, is also inconsistent with the nationalistic and liberal tradition of Karnataka, is paradoxical…”

The choice of parents has generally received approval of the Courts; but when it has come to study of a compulsory regional language as a subject, the courts have frowned like the division bench headed by Justice Shah refused to interfere with the Tamil Nadu government’s order of compulsory Tamil study from Std. 1 to Xth.

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Cleofato A Coutinho

Cleofato Almeida Coutinho is a senior lawyer and one of the constitutional expert in Goa. A member of Law Commission of Goa, he also teaches at Kare College of Law in Madgao.

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Dear Mister Barad Gonas with Portuguese names are also Goans. They were forced to convert. SO Goans both hindus and catholics and also some Muslims are indigenous Goans. After the Invasion of Goa by the LIar Nehru came all Indians in hordes and calim to be Goans simply because their parents gave them birth in Goa.

A person with a surname GUHA also claims to be Goan. And you know what that means and explains why Goa stinks.

- Vinod P. Mapshekar, Panaji | 12 th February 2013 19:44

 

Alvares, first let me answer your question. Yes. I’m very much Goan by birth, any doubt…… but I don’t know whether you are Goan or not!

I’m not at all worried about other’s children studying English…..it is their choice. All that I say is “no grants should be given to schools teaching English as medium of instruction….if you want your child to study in English pay and teach them.”

Secondly, this insisting is more because Konkani is included in 9th schedule and as per constitution, concerned government is duty bound to promote the languages included in 9th schedule. But unfortunately none of our government has promoted Konkani after it got included in 9th schedule! On the other hand they are trying, for their political mileage, to promote a language which is neither a national language nor is in 9th schedule and the language that they are trying to promote is English.

Most importantly, no Goan is saying that complete education should be in Konkani, all that is insisted upon is Konkani should be and continue to be medium of instruction up to primary education (4th standard) and thereafter it could be any language of child/parent choice and from 5th onwards every Goan expects maximum monetary help from government to the schools.

Alvares, don’t forget that during your loved Portuguese rule, everyone had to pay for whatever they want to study. Taking this philosophy one step forward, I would say “do teach your children the English language by paying the fees without any expectations from government at least up to 4th standard.”

I hope I have clarified the issue on MoI.

Although I and my family eat non-vegetation food, I don’t mind explaining you scientifically the benefits of eating habits and vegetarian eating….provided you are science student. After I explain you the benefits, you will defiantly understand what is what of veg!

About history…....geography….I don’t know much because I’m science student……may be in this case I have to except what you have written …..but definitely nothing about Portuguese ….only about Goa and Goans.

U. G. Barad, Margao - Goa

- U. G. Barad, Margao | 10 th January 2012 07:28

 

Barad why are you worried if other's children want to study in English. You can make your children study in Marathi. Tommorrow you will have a poll on eating Habits. And if Majority vote for vegetarainism can you force other to be Veg. First of all Barad are you from Goa? Certain issues are matter of personal choice. Further Hindi is just a regional Language like Goa. I will move court that those schools force it as a second Langauge should not be given grants. It is not a Langauge of Goans. This is exactly what Tamil Nadu has done.

Further the history that is taught is fully about British. Why Should Goans learn an overdose of that History and not be exposed to history of Portuguese Goa. Did the British rule Goa? I would also demad that correct history of Goa to be taught in Schools or else schools that teach wrong History should be denied grants.

- Antonio Alvares, Margao | 06 th January 2012 08:56

 

Government’s decision to release grants for primary education in English has divided the state vertically. Today most Goans are not ready to welcome the decision as progressive - because present figures, based on feedback forms received from all the schools in Goa including govt. primary schools, say that 54 % opted for regional language (Marathi and Konkani included – although percentage wise Marathi opting percentage is more as compared to Konkani) as MOI at primary level and only 46 % opted for English.

Secondly, since the decision is connecting with “n” number of factors it should have been arrived at only after thorough consultations and deliberations with all the stake holders of Goa and not just based on to satisfy selected few and to have persona political stability!

Worldwide educationalist after thorough deliberations on all the possible issues involved in medium of instruction at primary level have have concluded that primary education in mother-tongue is a must for children with which the grasping power of the child gets developed. Child learns his/her fundamentals better if taught in child’s mother tongue – the first language which the child learns on its own with the help of parents, even his concepts get clear if explained in his first learnt language i.e. mother tongue.

All the cases cited in this article are connected with who should decide as to what education should be given to the child? Is it the right of parent to decide or should it be decided by government. This is not at all the issue in Goa. This issue is settled much before without even discussion. No one denies the right of the parent.

The point in question/discussion in Goa today is should government promote English which is not even included in 8th schedule of the constitution of India, (although this language enjoys continued use for official purposes along with Hindi), at primary level by giving grants to English schools? The answer to this, according to me and as is convincingly explained by UNESCO should be unambiguously a BIG NO.

Most importantly, most Goans are firm in opining that primary education must be only in mother tongue and higher education must be only in English and accordingly all benefits, aids, and encouragements of the Goa government must be channelized, without any ifs and buts.

Factually speaking, Goan politicians, mostly uneducated politicians have made a total mess of educational system in Goa for their personal benefits.

- U. G. Barad, Margao - Goa | 27 th July 2011 17:05

 

Going by the eUNESCO report which many are beginning to swear by, I feel that my parents made a huge mistake. Knowing our mother tongue was konkani, why did they send me to school in Mumbai where English was the MOI. We struggled thru with Marathi as a subject and then switched to french, no love for France, simply easier to 'SCORE".

Now had i studied in Goa and in Konkani, I would have done far better in life. What about all my primary school classmates originally from Goa. If they all had come to Goa, my guess there would not have been enough seats in the IIT's.

Sorry, the point is has anyone figured out how these guys arrive at these conclusions. How can they say that because you studied in your mother tongue in primary you will do well in life or higher studies.

If this were true, how do you explain the success of the second generation of immigrants to any place, in the world including Goa. By UNESCO logic all should have failed or not done very well.

But children adapt easily. hence while parents may struggle with a new language Children will pick it up and if they have it in them they will flourish.

I did mention I struggled with Marathi. However later I was sent to Aurangabad to set up a factory, While I still cannot write I can read a wee bit and speak for sure. The same was repeated when I moved back to Goa, I learned Konkani.

Why simple, economics. I needed to learn these languages to discuss with my people, my customers etc. This is not specific to me, the gujarati community in Goa speaks konkani fluently.

The myth seems to be created that if a child studies in an english medium school he is automatically fit for life and is assured of a great job. Wake up and smell the coffee. There are no free lunches in the real world. You will get a job if you are fit and ofcourse in Government if you can pay.

So i assume it is nobody case what language we choose to study in. The main issue is 'GRANTS". When the Government can give money or waste money on so many things around us, my view is why crib bout the grants? Those who could afford anyway sent their kids to unaided schools or even aided schools if they believe the quality in a particular aided school is better.. The not so fortunate sent their kids to aided school with no choice.

The grants gives them a choice. So why make a fuss. Let parents choose. The money is being wasted or siphoned off anyway.

I would like to bring up a point which is different and has been discussed before in interactions with education department officials when I was Chairman of the GCCI education committee. Give each child a coupon worth a certain amount. Then let the parent enroll the kid in any school in the state, aided or unaided, This coupon can be used to pay the fees in part of full.

Here there is no question of funding a school based on it choice of MOI. Here the choice is open and each child gets a state benefit equally. There are other aspects to this which can be discussed separately. The man being in any area with 4 schools, it would be possible that the kids opt for 3 and 1 is left high and dry. Well that one school will have to improve. Today there is no penalty for a school not delivering quality education. Think about it

have a nice day

- Blaise Costabir, Goa | 23 rd July 2011 09:48

 

It goes without saying that the primary education in mother-

tongue is a must for children when the grasping power gets

developed. It was unluckily not possible for Konkani people

to develop primary education in their mother tongue because

of centuries of foreign rule. History has records made by few stalwarts to start konkani schools.

The politicians have made a mess of educational system in Goa taking undue advantage of medium of instruction for primary education of goan children. Being a Goan born in Margao in 1937. I was educated in Marathi,English,Potuguese

and Hindi then. Ihad my second language French for SSC.

It is not difficult for children to pick up languages at young age.

Swami Vivekananda Retreat at Ridgley, 95 miles north of NY city in USA,states that " Every one should learn Sanskrit and English along with his mother-tongue." Unfortunately even Sanskrit could not be developed for educational system because of foreign rule for centuries.

- Damodar (Shyam ) V. Bale, East Brunswick, NJ, USA. | 23 rd July 2011 04:55

 

hi N Fernandes:

The issue is of primary education, where the fundamentals of the child are developed. if the child learns his/her fundamental in his mothertongue, his concepts are clear it is beneficial for the child and parents.

Am sure including BBSM are not saying not to learn english. the option of englist medium was always there in goa and parents are free to do so.

the question is government should not promote english. it is should focus and develop local languages.

- deepak, goa | 11 th July 2011 18:38

 

To Deepak:

You must understand that Countries like Japan, South Korea & todays China,provides a lot of jo opportunities to its citizens.Many citizens of these counrties do not need to migrate elsewhere.

In India on the other hand,job opportunities are scarce.Some will say it is "luck of the draw".

However you must also agree,if you your self are living in the in the real world and specially in Goa, that if you want a decent paid job you need to pay huge bribes.

A lot of Government jobs and Police Jobs have been purchased.This practice is still prevalent .Jibs are offered to the highest bidder.The highest bidder is usually the well-off or forced in to this corrupt practice.

India has several languages and not one unifying one.

Hindi is partially unifying.

A Maharasrtian going to the Punjab to seek employment,will not be given equal status to a Punjabi speaker.

Many Goans do not see bright & decent living wage employment prospects in Goa even with a good education.

Hence,with this in mind ,many chose to equip temselves with English to seek employment or their bread & butter abroad.

Many Goans have seen their forefathers,brothers,sisters,neighbours & friends go abroad to feed their families.Most of these have done so, with the confidence that, reading,writhing & speaking in English have given them opportunities abroad.

The BBSM ,many arnong them living,through family inheritance or corrupt practices do not need to go abroad or elsewhere in India.They are more then self-sufficient or living at the expense & with compliments of taxpayers.Freedom Fighters elsewhere in the world do not sit on their laurels and get "spoon- fed" by corrupt government.

Indian Army Forces,who have served their Country in Wars do not sit on their backsides, & with severe war injuries & disabilities, and receive " un-accountable" Pensions.

The BBSM are a spent force and do not care about the people,but glossing-up their failed dogmas.

If they can assure & find suitable & decent employment for Goans ,then I am sure many Goans will think otherwise.

- N.Fernandes, London | 10 th July 2011 14:14

 

In almost all the cases that Cleofato cites, the cause of action arose because the state governments in question tried to ban education in English, and ordered that all schools must use the state language as the medium of instruction in all schools.

This is not the case in Goa, where schools were allowed to use any medium of instruction. Government grants, however, were restricted to those schools that operated in any language contained in the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India.

Two different sets of circumstances; one doesn't necessarily apply to the other.

- Ashwin Tombat, Panaji | 09 th July 2011 13:24

 

Hard hitting arguement by english language supporters is that englist is global language and by learning it will open oppurtunities etc etc..

take a look at some large economies in world Japan, China, Korea what language do they learn in. see our neighbouring states..

still somebody wants to put child in english medium it is their wish. as a policy, government should support local languages and give grants to them.

the MOI was created to divide goans but looks it will backfire on goverment.

- deepak, goa | 01 st July 2011 15:22

 

To Samir Kelekar:

Could you explain , in any language of your choice, why the reverse could not accomplish this either.

People educated during the Portuguese period, still speak Konkani or Marathi.

English speakers all over India still speak in their mother or regional tongues.

Where there is a need & a will, there is always a way.

- N.Fernandes, London | 07 th June 2011 00:37

 

Sure, those sons and daughters, who are in America or Western countries, must be all their mind work in Indian regional languages and then converting or translating into English when writing down. "Dimprant assa tem vhair pavpak time lagchona?"

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 05 th June 2011 13:26

 

http://www.unesco.org/education/education_today/ed_today6.pdf

Most research shows that children who start learning with their mother tongue

not just start learning better but continue learning better later in life than

those who start with a foreign language

---------------------------------------------------------------

Digambaran khoichea xikxon tadyak consult kelem hey sagunk jai.

Mhaka dista

Xikxon todnya = Churchill Alemao

samir

- Samir Kelekar, Bangalore | 02 nd June 2011 21:47

 

In 1986 or so, at the height and in the heat of the language, 7 (seven) lives were lost, when Konkani was posed against Marathi, and it was almost communal lines, no one wants to remember those times. With the flip-flop policies of the governments, with stop-gap measures, the problem still exists, with some fanning the fires of those times. But today it is made to appear that under the garb or regional languages, Konkani appeasing Marathi, for own survival perhaps, on a desperate sinking boat. While the parents of children want to catch up, with the echelons, who have educated their own shielded chidren in English medium schools. Are those professsionals fool enough not to realize that children educated in regional primary could do better? Or is that a status symbol to send the children there!

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 02 nd June 2011 15:17

 

On the flip side, I am happy that Marathi and Konkani protagonists have come together and fighting it out. I doubt anybody could have imagined such a scenario in the distinct past. The two languages are similar in so many ways and it is high time that supporters of these two languages work hand-in-hand forever so that they can keep these languages alive forever!

Anyway, Digamber is a crook!

- Jay, USA | 02 nd June 2011 04:12

 

Samir Bab- Lok shahi, zaum ou kiteim zaum, thantunt thodde jiktat ani thodde hartat. Zaxe tujea poixeanchi tumkam dukh lagta, taxich makai lagta. Hanv jhe poixe tax farir kartam, tech mhaka zai thuim vochonant thar hanv harlom nhuim? Konkknint ek mhann assa ' khata tea panar, thukhta' axem zaunk favonam nhaim? Thodde ami English bhaxecher pott bhartat, ani tarui punn virudh asat, kiteak? Dusrem, khainchii bhaxa vaprit ravat zalear, thi mhaim bhas zavunk ieta. Ti English atam English lokanchi nhai, punn amchea ganvant, konn mhannat, Konklish. dusre Hinglish, our Ggonklish. Ami thar hi English somzun BBC or bhailea mediacher uloit zalear, sub-editing kartat, kiteak ti English-English nhai. Pun somzun ghethat ani hansnant. Kiteim zaum ami khuinch ghelear pott thari borunk xekthat.

- Ludovico, Old Goa | 01 st June 2011 16:20

 

Are Ludovico; tuka zaso choice asa, mhaka mhoje

poixe englishikhatir na divpachoy choice asa.

Nimane, hi lokshahich nhi?

samir

- Samir Kelekar, Bangalore | 31 st May 2011 09:18

 

When a parent has the right to teach Portuguese or not to send the child to school, if so they choose, the what is the problem in teaching in English, when it is the official language of India ? Which year did the UNESCO and in what context did they make that recommendation ?

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 28 th May 2011 18:08

 

No one even the strongest protagonist of konkani denies the right of the parent. The parents can jolly

well not send the child to school, if they choose to or

teach them Portuguese.

The question is whether government should give

grants to an alien language for primary education; a language which is not the mother

tongue of the child. And here the answer should be

an unequivocal no, supported by strong evidence by

experts including the UNESCO which says that the child flowers best when taught in his/her mother tongue.

- Samir Kelekar, Bangalore | 28 th May 2011 00:08

 

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