The Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to introduce English as the compulsory medium of instruction in all government schools has caused quite a stir in the State. It raised many emotional questions and arguments, both for and against, from the opposition parties and the civil society. Recently the AP High Court struck down GO Ms. No. 85, issued on 20th November last year to this effect. In its verdict, the court pronounced that the government cannot impose any medium and that the parents and children should be left with the ‘choice’ to choose the medium of instruction.
While the opposition parties decried that the government’s move will essentially sound the death knell to the rich Telugu language, a section of the civil society felt that children should be educated in their mother tongue by referring to scientific studies. The government hit back by asking why the children of opposition leaders and all those opposing the move are studying in English medium schools.
Many intellectuals weighed in on the issue pointing out that English is not just a language in this context but rather a crucial key to opening doors of opportunities for children. They also said that parents do not really have a ‘choice’ in the matter. They have suggested that instead of abandoning the Telugu language, the government should allay the fears of the opposition by making the study of the language a compulsory subject with high weightage. Similarly, they urged the government to take up the project to expand Telugu vocabulary to make it a modern scientific language which aides in understand the fast-changing world now.
The AP government responded to the court verdict by surveying 40 lakh parents whose children study in government schools. The government survey projects a whopping 96.17 per cent parents consenting in written favouring English as the medium of instruction.
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, during a recent review meeting, said that the government has conducted another survey in which 94 per cent respondents favoured English as a medium of instruction and that the government is firmly resolved to go ahead with the decision. Minister of Education, Adimalupu Suresh said that the government has already started printing textbooks with the new syllabus in English and that the government would appeal against the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court based on the two surveys the government conducted.