Panaji, March 25 (IANS) Yoga guru Swami Ramdev Friday backed regional languages Konkani and Marathi as the medium of instruction in schools in Goa that is witnessing heated public debate and rallies over making English the medium of instruction.
“We are not enemies of the English language, but Indian languages should be given first preference,” Ramdev told reporters in Panaji, when asked if he would back English as a medium of instruction (MOI) in Goan schools.
“Almost every country in the world uses its own indigenous language as a medium of instruction. There is a reason for that. Your own language helps you stay in snyc with your culture,” said Ramdev, who is in Goa to address a public meeting organized by the Bharat Swabhiman Trust (BST).
The yoga guru also said that attempts to make English as the MOI in Goa was aimed at destroying local languages of the region namely Konkani and Marathi.
Ramdev’s comments have come amidst a raging debate in the state over the MOI to be used in schools.
While the Forum for Rights of Children’s Education (FORCE), a citizens front backed by a section of Catholic politicians and the clergy, is supporting English as the MOI, another forum Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM), supported by a section of the freedom fighters and rightwing protagonists, is favouring Konkani and Marathi as the medium of instruction.
The debate in Goa comes against the backdrop of the central Right to Education (RTE) Act, which envisions the child’s mother tongue – in Goa’s case Konkani — as the MOI. The act is scheduled to be ratified in the state legislative assembly soon.
At present the Goa government offers aid and grants only to schools in which Konkani or Marathi is used as the MOI.
Schools with English as the MOI are not provided the government grant-in-aid.