Gujarati scholars bat for entrance tests in mother tongue

Gujarat Sahitya Parishad (GSP) and some noted Gujarati literary figures have approached the Gujarat High Court with a prayer to direct a number of higher education institutes in India to conduct their entrance examinations in Gujarati language apart from English and Hindi.

A division bench has issued notices to the respondents and kept further hearing on October 20.

Apart from GSP, the list of petitioners include Raghuvir Chaudhary, Niranjan Bhagat, Vinod Bhatt and Bavant Parekh and an educational organisation, Gujarat Kelvani Parishad.

The respondents in the petition include the Central Board of Secondary Education, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Indian Institute of Technology, Council of Architecture, the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences and other state and central authorities.

According to the petitioners, all the above referred organisations are institutes of higher education and they conduct their entrance tests in English and Hindi languages.

However, in Gujarat, over 85 per cent students of Gujarat Board are having their basic education in Gujarati language only and are not well conversant with either English and Hindi. And for this reason, they get handicapped for appearance and success in these examinations.

This, the petitioners have stated, violates the fundamental rights of these students, getting their primary and basic education in their mother tongue. It says the right to life and right to equality and the right to access to education of these students gets violated because of such entrance examinations.

Interestingly, emphasising the need for basic education in mother tongue, the petitioners have annexed to the petition the articles of Mahatma Gandhi on the importance of Gujarati or mother tongue as the medium of instruction in schools. The articles are included in the book, Collected Works of Mahtma Gandhi.

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