No Sanskrit exam for Kendriya Vidyalaya students this session, Centre tells SC

NEW DELHI: The government on Friday refused to relent from its decision to replace German with Sanskrit as third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas but told the Supreme Court that there will be no examination for Sanskrit in the current academic session.

Appearing before a bench headed by Justice A R Dave, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the Centre has decided that no examination would be conducted for Sanskrit paper and KV students can also continue with German language as an additional subject in the current session.

“It is a good solution,” Justice Dave said, adding, “Even as a father I would agree with it.”

The Centre’s decision not to conduct exam for Sanskrit, introduced in the middle of the ongoing session, came after the apex court expressed concern at the last hearing that students would be burdened and suffer because of the government’s decision.

Rohatgi said a decision at the “highest level” has been taken and placed before the bench a letter from a joint secretary of HRD Ministry.

“In view of the concern of the court, and to ensure that no stress is caused to the students, there will be no examination in this academic session for those students studying Sanskrit, or any other modern Indian language as the third language now, in place of German as the third language, for the remaining part of the current academic year,” the letter said.

The students, who had been studying German as third language, can continue to study the foreign language as an additional subject in the present session, Rohatgi said.

The bench, however, did not pass any formal order as advocate Reena Singh, appearing for a group of parents of Kendriya Vidyalaya students, pleaded that she should be given some time to counter the suggestion given by the Centre and consult her clients. It posted the case for December 8 while reiterating that introduction of Sanskrit is good for students.

Meanwhile, highly placed HRD sources said there is a political conspiracy behind the petition in the apex court and pointed out that Singh, an additional advocate general for UP government, appeared for 22 parents of KVS students. “I don’t want the issue to be diluted. This is related to children’s education. There is no conspiracy. I am a lawyer and can fight for anyone. This has nothing to do with UP government,” she said.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by a group of parents of KV students who challenged Centre’s decision to replace German language with Sanskrit in the middle of the ongoing academic session.

Times View

It is good that the government saw sense and allowed students to continue with German as the third language for the current academic session, if they so choose. To force them to make a change in the middle of the year would have amounted to penalising them for no fault of theirs. While this compromise deals with the immediate problem, there remains a longer term issue to be addressed – the three-language formula insisting that the third language should be an Indian one. As both anecdotal evidence and a survey done by this newspaper show, a majority of students and parents would like to have the option of foreign languages as well. In a fast globalising world, that makes sense and policy must be changed to allow it.

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