Kerala condemns Lakshadweep's move to switch schools from Malayalam to English medium

Representational image: lakshmiprasad S/iStock

Thiruvananthapuram: The government of Kerala on Thursday strongly condemned the recent direction of the Lakshadweep administration to convert all schools under their Department of Education from Malayalam to CBSE English medium.

Expressing “great concern” over the directive, V Sivankutty, General Education Minister of Kerala, wrote to the Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. In his letter to the central minister, Sivankutty sought his intervention to review and reconsider the decision.

According to the Kerala minister, the recent move by the island administration would jeopardize the diverse educational choices available to students. The official instruction that the children in Lakshadweep should exclusively study the CBSE syllabus is a "direct infringement on their fundamental right to education," he said.

He pointed out that, there are 34 schools currently functioning on the island with a total student population of 12,140. These students have been benefiting from a mix of educational options, including the Kerala Syllabus in Malayalam and English Medium, as well as the CBSE Syllabus in select schools, he added.

"It is disheartening to note that this directive overlooks the fundamental principle that children's education, especially at the primary level, should consider their socio-cultural background," said V Sivankutty while tracing out that the majority of the students in Lakshadweep are enrolled in schools following the Kerala syllabus.

As said by him, the imposition of a single curriculum navigates the failure of the island administration to value the essence of the Right to Education Act, which emphasises the importance of education that aligns with the cultural context of the students.

This decision by the Lakshadweep administration's Directorate of Education is particularly concerning as it denies the island children their right to receive education in the language of their choice, he said. "We urge your prompt intervention to review and reconsider this directive, ensuring that the educational rights of the students in Lakshadweep are upheld and that a more inclusive approach is adopted," the letter said. The Minister sought the Centre's intervention to safeguard the educational diversity and rights of the children in Lakshadweep.

The Lakshadweep administration recently announced a major shift in its education system by deciding to transform all schools under the Department of Education in the union territory from Malayalam to CBSE English medium. The Director of Education in the union territory issued an order in this regard on December 12. Beginning from the academic year 2024-25, all schools under the department will exclusively admit students under the CBSE English medium stream from grade 1 onwards, it said.

Detailing the necessity of the shift to the new medium, the order said that the migration is designed to equip students with essential skills and knowledge for their future academic and professional pursuits, recognising the substantial role of the CBSE curriculum in preparing students for competitive examinations and 21st-century skills.

(With inputs from PTI)

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