Amid the raging controversy over replacing German with Sanskrit as the third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas, HRD Minister Smriti Irani today strongly defended the decision, saying the existing arrangement was in violation of the three language formula.
However, she said German would continue to be taught as an “additional subject of hobby class”.
About 68,000 students of class VI to VIII, likely to be affected by the decision, will be given an option to pick the language of their choice as annual exams are barely three months away. The KVs will provide counselling to the students.
The Minister said “an investigation” has already been launched into the signing of an MoU in 2011 enabling German being taught as the third language.
“In the board meeting we have asked how the MoU was signed which was a violation of national policy of education.
“It violated the constitutional right of the child and the state. It is not about promotion of Sanskrit but about safeguarding constitutional rights,” she told reporters while clarifying the Ministry’s stand on the issue.
The Board of Governors (BoG) of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), headed by Irani, had in its meeting on October 27 decided that “teaching of German language as an option to Sanskrit will be discontinued herewith”.
Ministry officials said that an MoU signed between KVS and Goethe Institute-Max Mueller Bhawan in 2011 was not referred to the Ministry at any stage.
The matter came to light when the MoU was set for renewal this year.
The Sanskrit Shikshak Sangh had earlier this year moved Delhi High Court alleging that KVS had introduced German as a third language in place of Sanskrit against the education policy.
The three language formula as enunciated by the National policy on Education states and subsequently by the National Curriculum Framework 2005 states that Sanskrit may be studied as a modern Indian language apart from Hindi and English.
When the matter came up for hearing, the HRD Ministry on October 15 this year, the government in an affidavit had pointed out the “inconsistencies” in the MoU and said the matter has been remitted back to the KVS for consideration.
NDA ally PMK has, in the meanwhile, slammed the decision to replace German with Sanskrit and has urged the Centre to revoke its decision.
“Irani’s diktat asking KV schools to stop teaching German as third language and instead tutor Sanskrit is a planned imposition of Sanskrit,” PMK chief Ramadoss alleged.
The HRD Ministry in a statement said they are “not against the teaching of German language but it should be in conformity with our domestic policies and regulations and not violative of our domestic policies and regulations”.
It said the option of learning German will be there for all the students who want to take German as a language course in addition to the three languages under the three language formula and no child will be deprived of the option of learning German.