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Goa may extend aid to all schools in phased manner

Special Correspondent

PANAJI: The Goa government may decide to implement its controversial medium of instruction (MOI) policy for primary education in a phased manner in a bid to placate the Bhartiya Bhasha Suraksha Mandal (BBSM), a body opposing the new policy to give grants to primary schools with English as medium of instruction.

A monitoring committee headed by State Education Secretary V.P. Rao has found many discrepancies in the on-going implementation of the MoI decision, sources in the Education Department said on Friday.

Back with Cabinet

The committee, the sources said, had decided to refer the issue back to State Cabinet and a contentious circular of Education Department which was meant to advise the schools the process they had to undertake for switch over would be referred to the Law Department for its view. As the switchover involved new entry students as well as children of existing Class 1 to 7, more complications were surfacing as the policy implementation begins.

Echoing the sentiments of the BBSM leaders about the circular, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Manohar Parrikar, senior BJP leader on Thursday wrote to Chief Secretary Sanjay Srivatsava pointing out that the circular had several irregularities and illegalities.

The opponents of the policy of grants to English medium primary schools had had opposed the change of old policy where grants were given to primary schools only in Indian languages.

Mr. Parrikar's letter, inter alia, said a clear assurance had been given by Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate on the floor of the Legislative Assembly during the recent monsoon session to retain the existing policy in respect of grants to primary schools paving the way for passing of Demands of Education Ministry.

No allocation

Although the Cabinet decision to modify the policy subsequently created a separate expense stream that was beyond the budgetary approval, the same did not appear to have been approved by Finance Department and Law Department as required under the approval rules of business. While Chief Minister Digambar Kamat continued to stick to his decision stating that it endorsed the right of parents to decide the medium of instruction for their children and that nearly 52,000 parents had submitted a memorandum of signatures to government, the mandal had described this decision as “destruction of the Indian languages.”

The mandal had intensified its agitation, including protests at the venue of public functions of Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues.

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