Sunday, March 22, 2009

Goa schools' medium of instruction, a big joke

The outrage of parents triggered by a ridiculous hike in fees in a Margao school has its genesis in the senseless and absurd decisions of our politicians in Goa who are the people responsible to inflame this kind of a situation in the state, due to the policies they espouse and  endorse due to their vested interests.

Call it their toothless foresight or their dimwitted sense of thinking, or their scant regard for the common man of Goa, our politicians in Goa are making Goans pay a heavy price for their thoughtless and spineless policies which have only made our lives expensive.

Their proxy zeal of enforcing a medium of instruction which was inspired by the hypocrisy of the official language passion, our politicians in Goa, in their quest of blinding the electorate with their brand of popular wisdom, have forced a medium of instruction down our throats in government schools which Goans are finding difficult to swallow.

The medium of instruction in the primary sections of Goa is currently either Konkani or Marathi and all the subjects are being taught in the two vernacular languages. Only these schools are being aided with grants by the government who denies such grants for the schools who opt for the medium of English. This has given rise to plenty of unaided private English medium schools who have seized on the opportunity of hapless parents hunting for English based education thereby stripping Goans with high exorbitant fees . It is quite possible that these schools are hand in glove with the government to continue this ridiculous policy of a vernacular medium in government aided schools so that they could continue to squeeze helpless parents who have no other option but to fall prey to their whims and fancies.

Our politicians are not blind in reality. They ensure that their own children are taught in rich English medium schools thereby circumventing the policy that they themselves introduced in the system. Their hypocrisy of thrusting the vernacular medium on the rest of Goan children is therefore a blatant exposure of their ulterior and warped motives.

For the children who study in government schools upto the 4th standard, the transition to the fifth standard with an overnight change of medium of instruction to English is also agonising as they find it difficult to adjust to the switch. The English diction which is already affected due to the four years of the vernacular medium takes a long time to align and often fails to do so leaving a lasting twitch in the diction for life . During this time the students who join these schools from the private English schools fare better which tends to give the original government school students an inferiority complex. A simple recipe of disaster in the Goan education system.

If you ask any call centre in Goa they have one major complaint with the Goan English of young Goans seeking employment. They find that Goans have a Konkani or marathi tinge to their English. This is not faced by the call centres with employees from metros such as Mumbai and Delhi. This has happened to us due to our medium of instruction which has  corrupted our diction and our government of Goa has therefore wilfully strived to make Goans deficient due to meet its own happy political ends.

The world stage is English. Excellence in the world can be channelised only through English. English is something which has given India the edge over China. And our politicians in Goa are going backwards. Have their brains deserted them or is there a more sleazy story behind this insane mentality of our politicians?

How are Goans expected to compete at the international or even the national level, given this sense of corrupted policies of our government who is seemingly encouraging a drain of our abilities?

If Goan politicians are so much in love with the vernacular language, they should make it a compulsory subject at all levels thereby ensuring that Goans are never out of touch with their mother tongue. However making it a medium of instruction is like a donkey masquerading like a horse.

It is time for Goa and Goans to stand up against this political stupidity of our elected representatives who are merrily watching Goans spend lakhs of rupees to teach our children in expensive private unaided schools just because they are too lazy to change a redundant and wasteful system of education.

The government in the meanwhile is currently spending crores every month in salaries to aided schools which are being reluctantly patronised by some Goans who due to the unaffordable fees of private schools,  helplessly admit their children in these schools despite the agony of watching them study in the konkani medium of instruction.

We need to change this. In an age where issues affecting the common man in Goa are brought to the fore, this one has mysteriously been left unattended and continues to bleed in a silent suffering for Goan parents who would like to instead carry on with their daily lives and leave the agitations alone. It is time that we stand up and force the government of Goa in an united voice to stop this madness of the vernacular  medium of instruction and revert to the international medium of English.

Xittuk Goencar

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