HC wants reply on changes in school exam languages

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court has sought explanation from the state government for making it compulsory for higher secondary students studying in mediums other than English, Gujarati and Hindi to take their board exams in these three languages only. The new rules prohibit such students to take the exam in the medium of their learning other than these three languages.

A bench of acting chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and justice J B Pardiwala asked the government to explain the issue on the basis of a PIL filed by the convener of civic rights organization Jan Sangharsh Manch, Shamshad Pathan.
A government resolution was passed on May 3 amending the rules of Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Certification Examination. With the new rules, during exams, students of Standard X in mediums like Urdu, Sindhi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya etc. will be given question papers in English/Hindi/Gujarati only. The students can answer the paper in their own respective languages.

For students of Standard XII with regional languages as their medium, the schools will be providing question papers in English/Hindi/Gujarati, and students will also be required to answer the papers in only these three languages and not in the medium, they are taught.

On July 11, the education secretary intimated schools that they should be conducting exams in 2012 as per the amended rules. Many schools made representations against this in August, but the government did not reply. This led JSM to move the HC, where the petitioner’s advocate Mukul Sinha contended that the state government’s decision was not only arbitrary and violative of constitutional provisions, but it would severely affect students’ career.

The petitioner highlighted that in Ahmedabad alone there are seven Urdu medium and five Sindhi medium schools offering higher education. He contended that there are hundreds of students, who study in languages in Gujarat apart from Gujarati, Hindi or English. Advocate Sinha argued that it is impossible for a student to comprehend and write examination in subjects like mathematics and science in a language that is not his medium of learning.

After hearing the petitioner, the bench observed that it would be “gross injustice” to students, if such rules are made and implemented in such a short deadline. The bench asked the government to explain the issue next Thursday.