Tuesday 26 September 2023

News Analysed, Opinions Expressed

(CM's) Cart before the (educationist) Horses


Is this a democratic and legal way of taking a policy decision? First take a policy decision in the cabinet and then tell the educationists to frame an academic policy, based on the ‘political policy’?

There were two hopes before the proposed Medium of Instruction policy could come into force, after chief minister Manohar Parrikar read out the cabinet note to the media on 4 June 2012. The first hope was that it could be debated, opposed, proposed and altered before the cabinet could actually take a decision. Accordingly, the young brigade of Facebook demanded it and even tried to meet the CM. The CM has also agreed to meet them; but the cabinet decision has already been taken.

The second hope now, for those who worship Parrikar but also worship their respective mother tongues, is the Academic Authority the government plans to appoint. It would be headed by Dr Louis Vernal, with 12 educationists on it. Once appointed, this AA is supposed to come out with a report within six months. The AA would be set up as per the provisions of Section 29 of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.

Section 29 (1) of the Act, specified in Chapter V, states that “the curriculum and the evaluation procedure for elementary education shall be laid down by an academic authority to be specified by the appropriate Government, by notification.

Section 29 (2) lays down eight points to consider while preparing this curriculum and evaluation procedure for elementary education. One among it, listed at (f), states: “medium of instructions shall, as far as practicable, be in child's mother tongue.”

While reading out the policy, Parrikar said he is leaving rest of the work to the educationists. Why rest of the work? Why not the basic work of laying down the policy for medium of instruction to the educationists?

In 1991, when then education minister Shashikala Kakodkar had framed the MoI policy, she had consulted all the educationists by having a full-day convention at Kala Academy. Based on  their recommendations, the policy was framed.

Parrikar’s note sates right in the beginning that “views of parents, teachers, school managements and officials were ascertained … in order to give finality to the vexed issue.” Could he disclose when and where this exercise had taken place? Was it a secret in-camera exercise on the most controversial public issue? Why?

And if this was really done, then why no academic authority was also set up soon after taking over three months ago to work on at least one vital issue of medium of instruction, before the academic year could begin? And will the AA be given observations of these consultations at least now?

Is this a democratic and legal way of taking a policy decision? First take a policy decision in the cabinet and then tell the educationists to frame an academic policy, based on the ‘political policy’?

If educationists are the horses of our education system and the cart is the cabinet, then what are we witnessing? The horses pulling the cart or the cart dragging the horses?

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

Very well said. Can the govt. openly deny that the decision to pander to church-run schools is anything but a vote bank decision?

Samir Kelekar |

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is a journalist, presently the Editor of goanews.com, Goa's oldest exclusive news website since 1996. He has earlier worked as the Editor-in-Chief of Prudent & Goa365, Goa's TV channels and Editor of Sunaparant, besides working as a reporter for Goan and national dailies & weeklies in English and Marathi since 1987. He also reports for the BBC. He is also actively involved in literary and cultural activities. After retirement from day-to-day journalism in 2020, he is into Re-Search Journalism (पुनर्सोद पत्रकारिता), focusing on analytical articles, Video programs & Books.


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