Not in a mood to take any further chances against the legal machinery, the state Government of Karnataka has finalized plans to amend some of the key points in the RTE (Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education) Act of 2009.
The changes are sought to clear the blocks in making Kannada as the official language of instruction in the schools up to the 5th class. With the new legislature session in the state commencing from 2nd February, the Government has plans to introduce the amendment bill on the very first day itself.
The decision to amend the RTE Act in accordance with the state policy was taken in a cabinet meeting on this Thursday. It may be noted that a curative petition in this regard is already pending in front of the Supreme Court.
The law minister of the state was quoted saying "At present, the Act stipulates the medium of instruction should be the mother tongue. The government plans to replace it with Kannada,"
The cabinet decision comes after the SC sidelined the state's policy of making Kannada the compulsory medium of instruction in all the primary schools across the state. With the court overturning the review petition, the government was left with little choice but to go for a curative petition.
The law minister further added that "The cabinet unanimously emphasized the importance of teaching in Kannada. We decided to stand by it by amending the rules and sending out a loud and clear message,''
According to him, the state government is well within its rights to amend the Act because education is a matter of concurrent list, where the centre and the state, both have their say. He also put forward the examples of neighbouring states that have taken similar measures and amended the RTE to change the medium of instruction to their state language.
The minister said that the Chief Minister wrote to the Prime Minister twice, requesting him to come up with a law that would be common for all states. But the law minister maintains that "We had no choice but to amend the law,"