Former union minister Eduardo Faleiro and ex-Goa Lok Sabha Congress MP on Thursday stirred a hornet’s nest when he indirectly opined that Church-run English schools at the primary level which do not promote local languages like Konkani and Marathi must be denied grants. He also said that “Konkani should be taught in the Devanagari script as it will provide access to Marathi and to Hindi, which is the national language.”
In an earlier interview to InGoaNews.com, Eduardo Faleiro had openly displayed his inclination and love for the Marathi language, saying those who studied in Marathi medium during the Portuguese regime were better off than others.
However, the Congress party which is in the opposition in Goa has subtly distanced itself from Faleiro’s comments, knowing the sensitivity of the situation.
Faleiro said that there was no justification for English as a medium of instruction (MoI) at the primary level and demanded that the primary schools run by Diocesan Society of Education should impart knowledge to students in Konkani and Marathi, reports the NavHind Times.
“In Goa, the language of study at the primary level should either be Konkani or Marathi. Konkani is the mother tongue of the people of Goa. Marathi is and has always been the literary language of a large segment of our population,” said Faleiro, while addressing a press conference in Panaji.
“There is no justification for English as a MoI at the primary level. The Madhav Kamat Committee has recommended that it should be the second language from the first standard onward. The Diocesan Society of Education should ensure that its primary schools teach through Konkani and Marathi and stop teaching through the English medium,” he added.
He further said that the state government and the schools should collaborate with the West Zone Cultural Centre under the Union Ministry of Culture to conduct programmes for children so that they appreciate their national heritage and culture.
He also reiterated that a gallery of portraits of Goa’s freedom fighters should also be installed in the Legislative Assembly as a mark of respect for all those who suffered and lost their lives for Goa’s freedom from colonial rule.
According to an NT report, Faleiro said that it was important that the memory and teachings of the leaders who fought and sacrificed their lives for Goa’s freedom struggle inspire the people and the future generations.
From the academic year 2016-17 the educational scheme formulated to encourage aided Marathi as well as Konkani primary schools, which proposes to provide a special grant of Rs 400 per student per month, enrolled in such schools was implemented. However, the Goa government has also continued the grant-in-aid scheme for English-medium primary schools, 70 per cent of them which are run by the Diocesan Society of Education.