Tuesday , 23 April 2019
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Give and Take Over MoI Issue

The fight over medium of instruction between the two sides, the Forum of Right to Children Education (FORCE) and Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch(BBSM) is getting uglier. With Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar refusing to discontinue grants to 130-odd schools (mostly run by Diocesan Society of Education) imparting primary education in English medium the fight is likely to get more intense. The fight will hot up further and like the 2012 elections, MoI would in all probabilities be one of the main issues in the 2017 Assembly elections.
The present government remained indecisive on the medium of instruction bill. The bill has been sent to the select committee of the Assembly. There is a possibility of the select committee sending its report to the House in the near future. Given the possibility that the findings of the committee might not be acceptable to the parties concerned, the government would have to do a tightrope walk in passing the bill despite the dissatisfied party definitely doing everything possible to keep the fight alive. Past solutions put forth by the government have not been accepted by the two sides and it is unlikely that a solution acceptable to both could be found given the extreme lines taken by the rival groups.
It is indeed unfortunate that Goa has not been able to decide which language suits its interests best. To some English is seen as a language that alienates people from their local culture and traditions; to others it is the language of world commerce and hence without equipping oneself with it the person might be left behind. The language issue in Goa is threatening to take a communal colour and could do irreparable damage to age-old communal amity between the different communities. Those involved in what is appearing to be a fight of supremacy should keep in mind that they are only creating room for politicians to use the issue to make a good political capital out of it.
Let Goa not be divided over MoI. Let both sides come to a solution by making proposals that could be acceptable to the two sides. The fight over the issue of language can be avoided by sitting across the table and making each other understand their point of view and not by holding angry and rousing meetings and dharnas. By prolonging the issue, those involved in the fight as well as the authorities are only helping create animosity between sections of Goa’s population. It is time that the two sides saw the reality and got concerned about the future generations and did not allow their particular views to come in way of policy making and preventing communalization of the issue. The leaders of all major political parties ought to play the role of facilitators in resolving the issue. The government’s role should be to build a political and social consensus on how best the differences of the points of view represented by the FORCE and BBSM could be resolved. The political leaders both in the ruling camp as well as in the opposition must play a proactive role in bringing about the settlement.
The government and the fighting sides would have to take a decision one way or the other; they cannot let the issue go on burning for long in the interest of the state, its people, peace and age-old communal harmony. Both sides have their points. The solution lies in finding the common ground and making compromises on the specificities. After all, there are no divergent opinions as far as the future of Goan children is concerned. The realities of the present situation should be appreciated by both the parties. At the same time, a small community like Goa faces real danger of losing its age-old moorings without the native language continuing to be an integral part of the communication of the people. The two sides have to meet half way. Let them come together for a solution in a spirit of give and take in the larger interest of Goa and its future generations. It would be better to avoid politics over the issue of which language should be used for imparting education at the primary level. Had the decision been taken when the issue first came up things would have fallen in place long back. The sooner we take a decision which would be acceptable to the two sides the better for the state and people and the children.

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