KBM needs to prove it now

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
13 April 2012 15:33 IST

During Medium of Instruction controversy, in one TV interview, Diocesan Society of Education Secretary Fr Zeferino D'Souza had said: the most ideal situation would be to have education from Std I to X in our mother tongue Konkani. But parents today think otherwise.

The DSE, in 1991, overnight shifted its primary schools to Konkani medium, primarily to get government grants to pay teachers’ salaries. By 2011, they surrendered to parents and shifted back to English, the medium they were following since 1961. Three decades in English, two decade in Konkani and now back to English once again.

But Konkani Bhasha Mandal has not. It’s still running its primary school in Konkani. Going against public perception, few Konkani activists in Margao had started a Konkani primary school – “Navee Shalla” in 1965. Students passing out from this Konkani school even secured ranks at SSC level in English and reached successful heights in streams like medicine, engineering, IT etc.

The same school, which faced rough weather for some time, was later taken over by the Konkani Bhasha Mandal in 1977 when Uday Bhembre was the KBM president. In fact his son Apurva was the only student in Std I in the first year. The number then went on swelling and the school became one of the most prestigious schools in Margao, due to the intelligent output of tension-free resourceful education and personality development.

Parents, in recent times, however started withdrawing from the KBM school since their children were finding it difficult to get admission for Std V in other good schools due to paucity of seats. Most of the other schools in Margao have been running both primary and secondary streams and some of them even a higher secondary school. This was also due to unprecedented urbanisation to Margao in large numbers of the South Goa rural crowd, mainly for the education of children. Getting admission somewhere in the middle thus became the most difficult task for even intelligent and bright students. Admission at Std I became inevitable.

On the other hand, KBM’s primary school however proved to the Goan society that its product is one of the best in Goa. Students passing out from this or any other Konkani school are just not good in studies but are bold, confident and versatile in nature. Many of them have topped the SSC examination and hardly anybody has dropped out from the school. It’s primarily because the foundation has been strong enough to face any kind of challenges like shifting to English medium or facing any eventuality in studies or career.

In this background, KBM’s decision to start English medium secondary school becomes significant. There has never been a Konkani medium secondary school in Goa. Most of the Marathi secondary schools have also shifted to English medium long ago. There also hardly any Urdu medium secondary schools left in Goa.

As per the latest official figures available from education department of 2009-10, Goa has 350 English medium secondary schools, four Urdu medium schools and only two Marathi medium schools. Only 1124 students study in Urdu from Std V to X and 1207 in Marathi. Contrary to this, the number of English medium students is huge – 1, 26,773 – little above 98 per cent. Marathi and Urdu school students are not even one per cent each.

Thus KBM starting English medium secondary school is but obvious. It is just like what the Church has been doing for the last two decades – impart primary education in mother tongue Konkani and the rest of education in English. It also proves that the KBM is not against English but only against imparting ‘primary education’ in English, instead of our mother tongue.

The KBM decision however should not be perceived as a helpless decision. It’s a challenge rather. The intelligent parents would now obviously shift back to Konkani medium in KBM school since it would have a guarantee for their versatile child to complete SSC in the same school rather than begging for a seat in other schools. But the Konkani movement needs to take up the challenge to get maximum number of students to the KBM school at primary level, by reversing the recent trend and getting back its old glory.

Yet another challenge is to prove the universal scientific principle that any child that studies in the mother tongue becomes brighter than the others. Of course, we will have to wait for six years to experience the actual output of it, when the first SSC batch passes out in 2017. In that sense, KBM’s decision is just not bold but a necessity. If it succeeds, then the whole unscientific trend of having primary education in English would change. If not, Goa would undoubtedly become the “English state”!

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is the Editor of goanews.com. He has been earlier the Editor of Sunaparant (Konkani daily) and Editor-in-Chief of Pruden (TV channel). His collection of selective editorials of Sunaparant has been published as 'Goff'. He writes brief thoughts as EdiThought for goanews.com, but not on regular basis.

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Previous Comments

Yes!!! we have to prove it... and We willl... in long run, we have to start branches... sply in north goa

- kajal kerkar, Ponda | 17 th April 2012 07:52

 

good article sandesh bhai

- mangaldas bhat, curchorem | 15 th April 2012 12:40

 

Very good , Main problem is to get admission in 5 th if that is solved everyone will like to teach their children in mother tongue

Good initiative

Ajit.

- Ajit, Margao | 13 th April 2012 21:17

 

This article is an answer to all the questions raised on the issue "ENGLISH MEDIUM HIGH SCHOOL" by KBM.

- Anant Agni, Margao | 13 th April 2012 15:48

 

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