Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s decision to make Telugu compulsory up to the 12th standard in all educational institutions is likely create problems for non-Telugu students in the state. The Telangana government would implement the compulsory Telugu policy from the next academic year, 2018-19.

A resolution to this effect will be passed in the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind at the valedictory function of the five-day World Telugu Conference (WTC) at LB Stadium here on Tuesday. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is expected to be present on the occasion.

“We have deliberated on this decision with different groups and there won’t be any problem in its implementation. The School Education director would be issuing orders to all schools and colleges in our state to enforce our policy. As per the Constitution, the state government has a right to do this,” Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari told The Sunday Guardian.

CM KCR, who held a series of consultations with Telugu scholars and language experts in the last several weeks has come to the conclusion that the implementation of Telugu on a big scale would boost job prospects of local youths in both public and private sectors.

Presently, only the schools and colleges that follow the state government syllabus allow Telugu as a second language, while those following CBSE and ICSE are not—they prefer French, Sanskrit and Spanish.

These schools are resisting the government’s decision to make Telugu mandatory. “We have told the government in our representation that making Telugu compulsory would cause immense difficulties to non-Telugu speaking students,” A.V.N. Shehnoy, Hyderabad private schools’ association vice-president, told this newspaper.

There are around 200 CBSE and ICSE schools where Telugu is not in use. “The association said it has no objection to Telugu being taught as a non-scorning subject,” Shenoy said.

Hyderabad is home to lakhs of IT professionals from different parts of the country. Their children will find it difficult to cope in school if Telugu was made compulsory.  “In view of their transferable jobs, many parents prefer that their children study Sanskrit or German as these languages are also taught throughout the country,” said Shriharsha, an administrator of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan School, Jubilee Hills.

The supporters of “compulsory Telugu” include CM KCR’s daughter and Nizamabad MP K. Kavitha whose Telangana Jagriti, a non-governmental cultural organisation, has been pressing the government to protect and develop Telugu at all levels.

“Unless Telugu is protected and promoted in a systematic way, people of this state cannot get justice in all fields. We want Telugu to be made compulsory in all administrative and legislative spheres. After all, this 2,500-year-old classic language has been neglected for most of the history,” she told this newspaper on the sidelines of the WTC inaugural function.

This campaign to make Telugu compulsory up to Class 12 is partly inspired by the similar policies adopted by neighboring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

In TN, even linguistic minority schools are directed to teach Tamil as a non-marks scoring subject.

Taking a cue from this campaign, Telangana Official Language Commission (OLC) and Telangana Sahitya Academy have urged the government to direct all commercial and business establishments to have signboards written in Telugu, besides other languages. “Soon, we are going to set up a panel to prepare glossary of Telugu to use in official communications,” said OLC chairman D. Prabhakar Rao.

There are also demands to shift the Centre for Study of Telugu as classical language from Mysore to Hyderabad and a training centre to use Telugu in all courts and legal matters. The CM is expected to announce a fund to the tune of around Rs 200 crore to publish and distribute Telugu books to cater to around 15 crore Telugu speaking people all over the world.


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