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Non-Kannada parents scramble to learn the language

Manikankana Sengupta

 

Kannada writing on a black board in a school in Golahalli | Credit: Manashaa

Bangalore, February 27, 2018: The Kannada Language Learning Act, 2015, implemented in October 2017, has sent a number of non-Kannada-speaking parents into a frenzy. They are struggling to help their children with the language and monitor their progress in class.

The Act makes it mandatory for schools to teach Kannada as the first or second language. Schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) also come under the purview of this mandate.

The Act affects those who have managed without knowing the local language and its script.

A Kannada teacher from Abhigyaan Knowledge Grooming, HSR Layout, informed The Observer: “We get at least one or two queries every day about classes from adults. Earlier it used to be mostly employees or MBA students who felt that learning the local language was crucial. But now we are getting queries from parents as well.”

Good To Excellence, another centre providing Kannada lessons, has been receiving requests from parents to learn Kannada as well.  Mr. Satish, who works there, told The Observer that they expect the enrolments of parents to increase further.



“Since the government has made Kannada compulsory, we knew a lot of parents who do not know the language will find it difficult to help their children with the subject. Our classes will be helpful as it will help them to supervise their children’s performance in school,” Satish said.

Prashanth Ekbote, one of the founding members of Kannada Gottilla, an organization that teaches spoken Kannada through WhatsApp, said: “We started our work three years ago for people who wanted to learn Kannada. Currently, we have over 9,000 students globally. All the teaching is through WhatsApp. It is based on the learner’s availability and convenience. They can also opt for Skype classes. A large number of parents have joined after the Act was enforced. We have three levels – basic to expert. Non-Kannada-speaking parents generally opt for the basic level… . We have classes Monday through Friday and assessments on Saturdays. The assessment is usually one-on-one… we encourage them to send voice notes so that they can work on their pronunciation. The trouble is that we do not have written Kannada classes. That would have been very helpful for the parents. We are thinking of expanding the course to include written Kannada as well after seeing the huge demand for it.”

Rupali Singh, who has a daughter studying in St Joseph’s Indian Primary School, finds it difficult to help her child with Kannada. “Neither my husband nor I can speak or write Kannada. This affects our daughter as we cannot provide her much guidance at home. We have not joined any coaching centre yet, but I think it is only a matter of time before we have to.”

Mousumi Banerjee, who is from Bengal, feels that spoken Kannada classes are a necessity. “I have lived in the city for seven years without knowing the local language. But now I feel like I do not have an option. I have a son who does not speak a work of Kannada; now he has to learn the language. So I have been looking for Kannada classes. As a working woman, it will be very difficult for me to find time for the classes. I would prefer online classes.”