AP HC order on medium of instruction in schools huge setback to CM

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The Andhra Pradesh High Court order setting aside two government orders that aim to introduce English as a medium of instruction in the state has come as a huge setback to the YSR Congress government’s plans for state-run schools in the state.

A division bench, headed by Chief Justice J.K. Maheswari and Ninala Jayasurya, has delivered the verdict while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an Eluru-based petitioner, Dr Srinivas Guntupalli, thro-ugh his counsel Karumanchi Indraneel Babu.

The Bench found that the GO violated Section 29 (2) of the RTE Act; Section 7 (3) and (4) of the Andhra Pradesh Education Act, 1982 Act; Rules 8 and 23 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010 and Rule 25 of the Andhra Pradesh Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010.

The court observed that these provisions provide that “the curriculum and the medium of instruction must be in mother tongue or irrelapsable literacy in mother tongue.”

After taking stock of various Supreme Court rulings and views forwarded in texts and by social thinkers, the High Court went on to note,

“The mother tongue plays a huge role in the development of personal, social and cultural identity; more so, the first language often enables a deeper understanding of themselves and their place within the society along with increased sense of well-being and confidence …. Thus, by education, personality of a child develops and the said education, if imparted in mother tongue, it makes the child educated in an atmosphere free from fear; thereby, he may be in a position to express his views freely.”

This apart, the Bench found that the GO in question affected the rights of minorities to run the educational institutions based on religion and language and to administer the same in terms of Article 30 of the Constitution.

The Court also pointed out that the GO had not received Presidential assent and that it was contrary to the Central Government’s policy. Therefore, the GO was hit by the doctrine of repugnancy, it was held.

The reform was one of the most ambitious personal initiatives of chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, who believed that the people of the state had suffered a lot for not studying in English medium all these years. He argued English as a compulsory medium of instruction will enable the children of the state to compete with others across the world.

Opposition parties, including the Telugu Desam, Jana Sena, BJP, Congress and others, had criticised the state government’s decision, stating that the state could not afford to ignore the mother tongue by introducing English as the medium of instruction.

They also found fault with the government’s move citing the unpreparedness of faculty to teach students in English (with input from Bar & Bench)

Image Credit: aphc

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