Following advice from the Law Department, the Education Department has reportedly decided not to effect any changes in the medium of instruction in primary schools for the ensuing academic year and also decided not to change the classification of primary schools.
The decision was taken after the Law Department gave its opinion on the Right to Education Act passed by the Union government which has stirred a hornet’s nest in Goa as the same has to be ratified by the State government.
The contentious issues in Goa with regard to RTE are the medium of instruction, classification of primary school and full day school.
RTE recommends regional language to be the medium of instruction at the elementary level which is up to the VIII standard. In Goa, this has resulted in a movement by parents demanding that English as a medium of instruction be also recognized and that elementary level should be up to IV standard as is the case at present primarily because then medium of instruction would be regional language up to VIII standard.
In fact, two massive rallies have been held under the banner of Forum for Rights of Children’s Education by parents demanding that Government provide grants to primary schools imparting education in English medium and quite a number of legislators including ministers have supported this move.
On the other hand, Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and newly formed Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch led by former chief minister Shashikala Kakodkar have demanded that primary education should be in regional languages.
The Education Department has now reportedly decided to retain primary level to be up to Standard IV and the medium of instruction to be in regional language.
As for full day school, the department has given the choice to each school to opt for it provided it has the necessary infrastructure like class rooms, rest rooms, playground and teachers.