Prominent persons including politicians and activists gathered in Margao on Wednesday to launch another organization to push for government grants to English medium primary schools.
Speaking to media persons Nationalist Congress Party legislator Micky Pacheco lamented that the government was not addressing this issue with the seriousness it deserves. “We have to think of the future of our children,” he said while disclosing that if the demand is not met by 20th May, they would launch an agitation that will bring the government on its feet.
“We are not launching a parallel organization but aim to re-inforce FORCE (Forum for Rights to Children’s Education”, quipped former MLA Radharao Gracias who argued that though Goa has a Congress government, it is implementing the BJP policies through “migrants” from that party.
“Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Home Minister Ravi Naik and Panchayat Minister Babu Azgaonkar are all migrants into the Congress from the BJP,” he said adding that they are enforcing the BJP policy vis-à-vis medium of instruction.
However, he refused to comment on the fact that all three of them had originally “migrated” to the BJP from the Congress and their return was termed as “home coming”.
Radharao concurred with the government stand of letting experts decide upon the medium of instruction, however, disagreed with the government over who the experts were. “There can be no better expert than the parent when it comes to the welfare of the child,” he said.
That the new outfit and its aims and objectives were yet to be decided upon was revealed by Ramnath Naik a known Marathi protagonist who hedged for a considerable time before stating that he too wants government grants for English medium of instruction.
However, his diatribe was against Konkani in Devnagiri script which he termed as “bone of contention” and said had caused misery and suffering to the Catholic community. “Devnagiri Konkani has to be done away with,” he asserted.
Domingo Gaonkar, Zilla Parishad representative from Raia made a strong pitch for English medium primary schools on grounds that it will benefit the Scheduled Tribe community as their children will get a level playing field to compete with others.
“Presently, our community is disadvantaged and remain backward while non-Goans are striding ahead,” he said.
Others present for the media briefing were ex-Chairperson South Goa Zilla Parishad Nelly Rodrigues, Zilla Parishad member from Nuvem constituency Wilfred de Sa and Dr. Ajit Kantak.
While accusing the government of politicizing the issue, they were unanimous in the decision to take to the streets if the demand is not met by 20th May.