Reality Check India

Decoding the Goa crisis – why cant India do education right?

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on September 1, 2016

In a very significant development, on Aug 31 2016 the popular RSS chief in Goa – Subhash Velingkar quit support for the BJP and decided to find other political parties to support for the upcoming 2017 Assembly elections.


“The political front which BBSM would be floating will go it alone in the poll. We can join hands with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) if they withdraw support to BJP,” RSS Goa chief Subhash Velingkar told reporters.

BBSM has been demanding that regional languages (Konkani and Marathi) be made the Medium of Instruction in Goa’s elementary schools, and Government should stop the grants of English medium schools.

Source : Indian Express


I am writing this short post – in order to preempt yet another misinformation campaign from Indian mainstream media. There is simply no way they will tell you what is really going on in Goa. Almost all of them are portraying (see Indian Express link above) that is issue is because Velingkar is opposing English medium and not something else. In that ‘something else’ – lies the real story. Read on.

The brewing medium of instruction (MOI) issue in Goa

Since the 90’s – Goa’s policy has been to only fund Konkani and Marathi medium primary schools.   This does not mean you cant have English medium schools – Goa has a thriving English medium school network in the private sphere. You just cant get any funding  from the government.  This was the policy up until 2011.

At the start of 2011 ; the situation in the aided school sector was   Konkani (135), Marathi (40), English (Nil because by rule English medium cant be aided). [1]

The Congress govt in 2011 – responding to various claims by the church and by the parents – decided to allow aid for English medium as well. Guess what happened? About 130-140 schools from the Marathi and Konkani medium immediately took advantage and switched over to English medium.  Almost all of them ,  132 of 140 of  these schools are run by the Church. This is entirely expected because at the end of the day people want English medium. This is evidenced by the fact that in Goa’s private sector almost all schools are English medium !

In 2012, the BJP under the Manohar Parrikar (now the defence minister in Modi’s cabinet) won the Goa assembly. This was due to a strategic alliance with the Catholic Church as well as a promise made to the RSS that this policy (of funding English medium) would be reversed.

Next – the BJP under Parrikkar  did this.

On Jun 6 2012, the govt issued a notification saying that henceforth only Konkani and Marathi schools will be funded by the govt BUT the schools that have switched over the English Medium (just one year ago) would continue to be funded.  But that is not all – the notification also said that only “minority / certain institutions that shifted to English medium in 2011 would continue to receive funds”.  The reason cited was “students should not suffer” [2]

This predictably blew the RSS fuse under Velingkar.  Then two opposing groups formed – the first one called BBSM Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (wanted cancellation of aided to these minority) and on the other side FORCE – a group of largely Christian educationalists who stood to lose if grants were withdrawn.

So this is the back story. In 2016 there have been hectic parleys between BBSM and the BJP Govt but all appear to be in vain as the govt under Lakshmikant Parsekar who asserted that church run english medium would alone get govt funds – His statement on Aug 10 2016  “The grants to English medium minority schools will remain uninterrupted,” Parsekar said.

Analysis of the MOI issues

Many people have wondered why India even after 70 year of Independence cannot seem to do education right. The most basic of things. For this blog and thousands of supporters of the #core right agenda – this issue is right here on top. The central anomaly in India is that people pass laws and comment ignoring this basic reality.  In India, the split in edu sector is not private vs public but minority vs non-minority.   So what happens is each time you pass a law or make rules curbing some autonomy – you can only apply it to the non-minority group.  This is the root of the problem.

BBSM got it right and wrong :  This is an issue on which most people on the Medium of Instruction get it wrong.  That debate can only be built if you have an underlying uniformity principle.  We must appreciate Velingkar for his principled stand.  He understands that MOI can only be achieved by coercion and that “fine , we’ll coerce only the Goan Hindus” does not appeal to him. The reality is Goan people want English and in an atmosphere of freedom they would pick English.   So BBSM rightfully finds itself in an absurd position – 132 state funded English medium schools run by Church cannot sit along side coerced Konkani run non-minority schools. The latter will be destroyed because people left to their own devices will pick the English medium !!  A side note : Even if we dismantle the central fabric of Idea of India – that is state preferences to minorities in education – MOI is still a big deal. Unlike Korea or Japan or Taiwan to impose regional language of medium is doubly hard because we already have inherited a thriving English base. You have to coerce at two levels 1) enforce that no school does English 2) and then impose the local language.  You cant do that uniformly due to the minority situation. Also remember that in India minority participation in edu is not peripheral or isolated. They are the dominant players and can easily supply all of the capacity twice over. This is what happened in Karnataka too ; the Congress govt to impose Kannada faltered because a few astute lawyers raised the minority issue and pre-empted it.

Parrikar got it right and wrong:  BJP won Goa largely due to its deal with the Catholic Church. The central part of this deal was likely to be the continuation of the Congress govt aid to the Church schools. So he feels obligated to honour that deal ; besides even if he withdrew the grants, the schools may be able to restore them using the courts. It is unfortunate however that BJP would extend the aid to only minorities while ignoring the RSS workers.

What is the solution ?

This Goa episode is just a small even in the larger scheme of sectarianism in Indian educaiton. There can be no reform possible unless this is addressed head on. Starting with the repeal of the 93rd Constitution Amendment, and the Right to Education Act. Without this uniformity principle I fail to understand how you can come up with “New education policy” etc.  The twin principles of #core right are 1) if you cant do it for all, do it for none  2) if you give govt money to religions it must be on strict pro-rata basis.

This is complicated by the Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar commitment in Parliament to not to ‘tinker with”  Minorities.  [4]



References :

[1] Goa MOI policy note

[2] Goa govt MOI circular dated 18/6/2012

[3] Herald Goa “Grants will be given to English Medium Minority schools”

[4] No tinkering with minority institutions – Prakash Javadekar

19 Responses

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  1. rohith678 said, on September 1, 2016 at 4:12 am

    Well articulated blog sir. I really started getting my mind into Core Right, which we neglected all these yrs. as you said “Only a move towards Core Right can resurrect the Rule of Law in the Indian context”.

  2. malavika said, on September 1, 2016 at 5:37 am


    Thanks for the wonderful job of educating people on the serious issue facing education in India. especially apartheid against Hindus in Indian education system.

  3. malavika said, on September 1, 2016 at 6:06 am

    BJP, RSS are on wrong foot when it comes to MOI in Mother tongue. MOI in Mother tongue is beneficial compared to English Medium as can be seen in Japan, Korea, Russia,China and almost all EU countries. There is far more innovation even in Russia compared to India. Russians,Chinese,Japanese et all have their own search engines (Not google or Yahoo etc) their own social media not Facebook, and even Messenger apps.
    Unfortunately, we in India are lagging behind in innovation, still mostly in services.

    However, to impose MOI in Mother tongue. the process has to start at the top. i,e have our Courts, Govt offices use Mother tongue(MT). Our paper work and road signs must be primarily in MT NOT English. Then it will have trickle down effect. It is a pragmatic choice on part of parents to have EM because English is used every where even in Telugu Movies ! SAD but true.

  4. Shiva said, on September 1, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Dear RC
    I could not understand the solution in the last para. How will repealing the 93rd amendment or RTE for that matter bring about the solution to the MOI problem? Cannot the state government stop funding English medium schools without any changes to RTE? Can you please clarify?
    The bigger issue seems to be how to bring in more support for regional languages, so that parents are not obliged to put their children in English medium schools.

    • Gana said, on September 1, 2016 at 2:12 pm

      Let me try to answer that.
      If you stop funding , the minority owned school can go to court and win based on 93rd amendment and RTE.

  5. Traverling Dragon said, on September 1, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    I am from Goa.

    I think you have got the central issue right. More right than the Goan media.

    Few points:
    Parrikar’s deal with church (if at all there was one) was a backroom deal and a clear betrayal of his stated position prior to victory. Parrikar supported BBSM almost unconditionally by faltered when he won the election coming up with worse possible compromise. Parrikar adopted the exact same strategy as IOI people of not mentioning the clever exception to minority institutes anywhere in public and just downplaying it while claiming he has reversed the earlier position.

    Clearly BJP is going to lose elections now because of his deeds. Cant even call it good politics in my opinion.

    Hindu run schools however continue to dominate education space in SSC and HSSC levels and that has been a big thorn in eye for the Church. Congress government had come up with a scheme (inspired by Church) to provide upto Rs 50 lakhs to any school that is more than 75 year old and can provide valid documentation for the same. Even though there are plenty of such schools Church expected that only their schools would benefit as only they had the centralized system of record keeping. To their surprise most Hindu run schools too were able to provide documentation and get the benefit mostly because all these schools were funded by temples in their initial years and Goa’s temples being privately owned had their own extensive record keeping system.

    The Congress government then immediately brought in legislative actions to put restrictions on how Hindu temples utilize their own funds. At the moment a temple can not even replace a broken tile without sending a quote to local mamletdar office and getting it approved. The last time I checked Mamletdar in my taluka had not approved even 1 quote in last 5 years. The temples now accept donations in the form of work. Mr. X replacing that broken tile instead of paying the money to the temple.

    Church’s objective seems to be to break the back of private hindu colleges through government coercion and sectarian resource allocation.

    Story of my school is here:

  6. abdul said, on September 1, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    What is the motivation for Manohar Parikkar to join hands with church?

    Is it brahminical arrogance/exclusivism or is it the fear of shudra masses/shudra ‘goondaism’?

    What is the motivation? As a headmaster,you can answer best.

    • Traverling Dragon said, on September 2, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      I am not HM I am a student. The link to the blogpost is written by my HM.

      I am not sure what is brahminical arrogance/exclusivism is. Parrikar’s deal with Church is probably was to gain christian votes.

      • abdul said, on September 2, 2016 at 5:57 pm

        I posted rubbish.’Sometimes’ I internalise the garbage of the mainstream narrative.Was frustrated by Parikkar joining with the church.have tried to ‘see somehow’ some merit in Parikkars actions in a subsequent post.

  7. abdul said, on September 1, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    The British and Xtists brought in English education.Brahmanas(and other forward/upper castes) swear by English.Its just the modern equivalent of samskrtam.But Xtists say they provide education to shudras and dalits (ofcourse of indifferent quality).Brahmanas and other upper castes swear by meritocracy.Some other dominant castes,like in AP,are ready to commercialise education.North India swears by expensive JEE coaching.

    There are four players
    a)State Govt indifferent schools
    b)Xtist schools
    c)Hindu brahmana/forward high quality schools in Madras/Bangalore/Bombay etc
    d)Commercialised coaching institutes like in kota/hyderabad.

    Clearly Parikkar is not excited by marathi/konkani schools like other high caste educated people in Madras,Bengaluru,Delhi.

    RC fails to see that the middle segment in India is dominated by obcs,parochial linguistic groups who do not share the worldview of upper caste hindus.

    We can create a brahmana class again.But history tells us that brahmana standards fall steeply below the cream.What we require is a broad based and meritocratic system that the french national state created over 100 years.That they did over 100 years from 19th to 20th century in age of less communications,less consumerism.France was able to standardise by imposing french over other languages and dialects.There was less political correctness and more revolutionary fervour.Even then under the bourbon restoration the catholics made a comeback.

    To create uniformisation and standardisation requires a national vision.Education in itself does not produce national unity.

  8. abdul said, on September 1, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Infact,there has been a precipituous fall in the quality of schools like Bala Vidya Mandir,Padma Seshadri,PS Senior Secondary school in Madras.There are two reasons

    a)These institutions were running on hype created by an earlier generation of students when competition was less and the students came from a section of society with ancient traditions of formal learning.Now the competition is more and more and more people are aspirational.
    b)The schools had very little role in success of students except to the effect of creating a congenial(atleast not detrimental)atmosphere.

    It was only a matter of time the results would become ordinary given the schools themselves did not coach students for JEE or AIIMS.Infact teaching profession was attracting very ordinary talent given there were other opportunities for earning more money or for great intellectual/creative/organising capabilities.

    Govt schools have stable pay and job security but people are recruited on quotas.That meant,these jobs were not sought after by upper castes who had better opportunities in banks/PSUs/govt clerical jobs/private sector.

  9. abdul said, on September 2, 2016 at 3:26 am

    This question is for RC.
    1)I dont see Padma Seshadri,PS Senior,Sankara Senior,Sankara Matriculation,Vidya Mandir,DAV,SBOA,Anna Adarsh,Hindu Senior Sec complaining about RTE.(This is with ref to Madras).Delhi Public Schools,DAVs in North India,DTA schools in TN are not complaining.

    2)Coimbatore region has a strong school education sysyem.Telugu speaking communities took the lead.In MGR and subsequent periods,vellalar gounders bridged the gap.They dont seem to be complaining.TVS runs two famous schools in Madurai.A madurai engg college lecturer(in one of the xyz engg colleges)told me it is easier to get admission in medical college than in TVS school.The two TVS schools I am talking about are the CBSE institutions(upto Xth).There are other ‘regular’ matriculation schools.

    Clearly RTE is not ‘targetting’ some schools which are well established.Their managements are not too worried.

  10. abdul said, on September 2, 2016 at 3:27 am

    It should be DTA schools in Delhi.

  11. abdul said, on September 2, 2016 at 3:31 am

    To be fair,there are very good teachers even in Govt schools.Some of the aided schools in Coimbatore region are very well run.In Govt schools,theres issue of discipline as most students come from lower rungs of society.

  12. abdul said, on September 2, 2016 at 3:33 am

    The French nation state(in many ways the standard) has many problems with integrating muslims and blacks.

  13. abdul said, on September 2, 2016 at 3:38 am

    One can be even charitable to Parikkar.At this stage,it makes no sense to ‘rake up’ education.Indias economy has to grow.Of what use is ‘education’ without jobs?(Ettu churakka kariku udavaadu-they say in tamil,bookishness is of little use in real life-literally meaning’literacy will not fetch one food’)

    Education has to wait until 2019.

    • rc2 said, on September 2, 2016 at 5:20 am

      abdul – can you please write all comments in one piece. Pls dont destroy the comment thread.

  14. Digital Kannada said, on September 3, 2016 at 6:36 am

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  15. Praveen Tammana said, on March 11, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    “It is unfortunate however that BJP would extend the aid to only minorities while ignoring the RSS workers.”

    What’s the professed reason for not extending it to Hindu schools? There has to be some reason to behind this action that goes against his own base.

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