The BBSM has now raised legal issues to demand scrapping of the Goa Education Amendment bill, related to giving grants to Church-run English medium primary schools, under the pretext of minority schools.
The amendment bill, presently before the select committee of House, also proposes to make Konkani or Marathi subject compulsory in the English medium schools, from StdI to Std X.
While national language formula follows two compulsory languages and one optional language at secondary level, Goa follows the system of English and Hindi as compulsory subjects while Konkani, Marathi, Sanskrit or French as optional subjects.
Since all the secondary schools in Goa are English medium and need to have English as one compulsory subject, making Konkani or Marathi as second compulsory subject would obviously opt out Hindi in the optional category.
“This will downgrade Hindi from compulsory to optional while eliminating Sanskrit”, observes Aravind Bhatikar, one of the BBSM leaders and retired IAS officer.
Does that mean that Konkani or Marathi should not be made compulsory subject at secondary level?
“No. Instead, government should have all the three languages compulsory, including Hindi”, he says.
But is it permitted as per the national language formula?
“If Manohar Parrikar (former CM and now defence minister) can give special concession to minority schools and grants to English medium primary schools by going against the national formula, why can’t the BJP government do this”, argues Bhatikar, a staunch Konkani protagonist.
MINORITY SCHOOLS TO FLOOD?
The BBSM also feels that the bill would result into opening floodgates to more English medium primary schools and closing down Konkani and Marathi medium government primary schools.
According to Bhatikar, minority institutes can take advantage to open more primary schools in English medium if this bill is passed.
He points out at a provision in the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act 2004, under which ‘any person’ can apply for NOC from the government to start a minority educational institution.
The same act also provides for deemed NOC if the government does not act upon the application within 90 days.
“Any person from the minority will tomorrow apply for the NOC to start English medium primary school, the government will not act on it for 90 days in order to grant deemed NOC and they will get benefits of government grants under the proposed amendment bill of Goa”, said Bhatikar.
As a result of this, he also predicts that Konkani and Marathi primary schools run by the government would close down as the proposed amendment bill opens floodgates for proliferation of minority schools in English medium.
NEXT PHASE AFTER SESSION
Subhash Velingkar, Goa’s RSS chief and BBSM leader, announced that the next phase of their state-wide agitation would begin from 15 January, the day five-day winter assembly session ends.
After having small meetings till 31 January all over Goa, he said large public meetings would begin from February.
“We will invite each MLA for the public meeting, which would be attended by not less than 1500 people”, he said.
It is thus clear that the BBSM is planning to pressurise all the 40 legislators while next Assembly election is hardly a year ahead.
The pressure mounting is now appears to have been aimed at the March Assembly session, when the government is actually planning to bring the bill while this winter session will see only the select committee report on the proposed amendment bill.