Why Konkani in Schools? FAQs for Parents


FREQUENTLY ANSWERED QUESTIONS FOR KONKANI SPEAKING PARENTS OF 6TH STANDARD STUDENTS WHILE OPTING KONKANI AS THE THIRD LANGUAGE IN SCHOOLS OF KARNATAKA

1. Why we need so many languages? Is it not better to have one International Language? After all Language is just for communication.

In the same way that biodiversity is important for the balance of life on our planet, language diversity is important for the balance of cultures. Every language in its way expresses a unique perspective on life, a unique solution to a problem, and unique ways of communication between people.

There is a close and intimate connection between culture and language. It does not only mirror each other, but also enrich and develop each other. Culture began when speech started. There are experts who say that you cannot fully understand the culture without understanding or having direct access to the language. It is a characteristic of culture to be socially transmitted through language. Culture is transmitted to one generation to another through language.

Hence death of a language will result in to cultural erosion and through that cultural imbalance in the world.

2. Konkani is not endangered, what is the need of promoting Konkani Language in Schools?

A minority language surrounded by dominant languages and cultures can travel in to next century only if it is maintained.

Language maintenance is being done through providing functional loading for the language in all functional domains. Education is a major domain where the language would be taught and learnt. UNESCO advocates the importance of Mother Tongue education.

Experts have observed that Konkani Speakers are slowly shifting to English and other dominant languages. Hence to reverse a language shift it is important to be introduced in the school curriculum.

3. What is the use of Konkani language? What benefit it has given us?

Konkani Language has given us an Identity in Karnataka. Konkani Community is benefited by the status of linguistic minority in this state immensely. Because of this status;

  • We have secured Professional Education opportunities (Konkani Linguistic Minority Institutions have provided free seats for professional courses to Konkani Students because of the mother tongue).
  • It has also safeguarded our interest in managing our own religious and educational institutions. (Temples of Konkani Community are not coming directly under Government Control due to the special religious denomination status on the basis of distinct mother tongue)
  • Because of the bonding Konkani Language has provided us, we have survived in this region and excelled with a collective cooperation.

4. The future economic interest of my child is more important than the contribution the child will be able to make to the survival/maintenance of the mother tongue.

Learning Mother Tongue as third language in school besides English as first language and Kannada as the second language will surely not harm the future economic interest of the child. Rather your ward can learn other languages much faster and better once he learns the structure of his mother tongue. He can acquire more languages.

5. My son/daughter speaks Konkani very well. What is the need to study it in School? Is it not better to learn a new language than the one which we already know?

There is an important distinction made by linguists, between language acquisition and language learning. Children acquire language through a subconscious process during which they are unaware of grammatical rules. They get a feel for what is and what isn’t correct. In order to acquire language, the learner needs a source of natural communication. The emphasis is on the text of the communication and not on the form. Children acquire their mother tongue, i.e. the spoken language, quickly and naturally and have a firm foundation in their mother tongue around the age of six.

Language learning, on the other hand, is more than just communicative. It is the result of direct instruction in the rules of language where students learn consciously about the language. They will come to know grammatical structure of the Mother Tongue they have been speaking for a quite long time.

This awareness will give them a new insight in to learning of their own home language Konkani and will benefit in acquiring other new Languages in a meaningful way.

But when you learn a any language other than your Mother Tongue as third language in the school, you need to learn it afresh, and which would hardly give you a complete command over the language.

I don’t want my son/daughter to get deprived of learning other languages like Hindi which is a National Language and Sanskrit which is a high scoring subject.

Though Hindi is an official language of “Government” of India, English is dominantly used in official domain which your ward is already learning.

As far as the power of languages goes, Konkani is also one of the Scheduled Languages along with Hindi, Kannada etc. with entry in to 8th schedule of Indian constitution. Many central government examinations can be written using Konkani Language. For Ex. Railway Examination, IAS Examination etc.

As far as the speaking skill goes, Hindi (or any other language except Mother Tongue) can hardly be mastered by learning it as third language.

Where as, with Konkani he only have to know how to write it effectively because he has the language with in him. As soon as he learns how to write the language he will be able to effectively write all the words he learnt since childhood in Konkani. He can read and enjoy the literature written in Konkani thus acquiring cultural traits transmitted through the literature.

As far as the scoring goes, He can score more percentage of marks in Konkani as he already knows the language and only have to study the writing rules of it. He can construct his answers quickly and in a better way than any other language.

If my son/daughter opts for Konkani from 6th Standard onwards, can he/she study it up to 10th Standard?

Konkani was initiated in to schools as third language in 6th standard in 2007-2008. Since then, as the first batch of students progresses the course materials are being developed by Department of State Educational Research and Training, Govt. of Karnataka.

Government of Karnataka has published the Konkani Text Books 6th to 8th Standards and in the process of publishing the Text Books of 9th Standard. 10th Standard Text book will also be published in the next year. Hence your child can continue studying Konkani as the third language up to 10th standard.

8. What about the college? Is Konkani being taught in colleges?

College Education provides opportunity to learn two languages. So Kannada and English can be studied in the college. World Konkani Centre is initiating a process for development of course materials for PUC in Konkani Language too. It will ensure that first batch of students will be provided with an option to study Konkani as well.

Mangalore University allows the Colleges to introduce Konkani Language as a language subject in Degree courses. St. Aloysius College, Mangalore has a Konkani Department and students are learning Konkani as a Language subject in Degree courses.

Research opportunities in Konkani Language and culture are available at World Institute of Konkani Language at World Konkani Centre which gives Fellowships for researchers.

9. Konkani language has many dialects, like Goan Konkani, Catholic Konkani and GSB Konkani etc. in which dialect of Konkani my Son/Daughter will be taught?

For Instance, Kannada has many dialects on the basis of region, like Dharwar, Mysore, Bangalore, Kanara but school text book language is common everywhere, so is for Konkani. Government of Karnataka, through a special expert committee developed Konkani text books for schools. The Konkani language in the text book is a standard and literary form of the language.

Your ward will learn basic form and Grammar of Konkani Language along with introduction of unique Konkani words from all the dialects which leads to development of word power in the student.

10. Teacher seems to be new, is there any special course or training provided to them in Konkani?

The teachers appointed by World Konkani Centre are all B. Ed. graduates and their Mother Tongue is Konkani. World Konkani Centre has given them special orientation in Konkani Teaching. They would be further enhancing their Konkani Language expertise through regular “Capacity Building Programme” conducted by World Konkani Centre.

11. I have not studied Konkani at school; will that be a problem for me to guide my son/daughter in her subject?

Not at all. The class room sessions are enough for the child to understand the lessons easily. You can also learn the grammar aspects of Konkani Language easily and help your ward if he/she finds any difficulty.

12. What are the benefits of learning Konkani?

  1. Studying one’s Mother Tongue in School will improve his/her language acquisition skills. It will help to acquire more languages effectively.
  2. The literature in Konkani Language will become accessible, through that the cultural intricacies of Konkani communities can be understood in a better way. It will lead to a better understanding of community culture and adhering to it.
  3. Your ward may develop literary skills, which entitles him much recognition and many awards of national and international stature. Awards like “Gyanpeet Puraskar” are also won by Konkani Authors.
  4. Preference would be given for students who have learnt Konkani in Schools while awarding benefits like scholarship and Konkani seats in professional colleges.
  5. It will give a better understanding of the Community Values to the child thus preventing a cultural gap between parents and the children when they grow up.
  6. Konkani Language has given us strong family and community bonding; it will continue to bond us together if we hold on to it.

13. We have a transferable job. Since the language is not available everywhere, it would be a problem for my child to switch over to a new Language.

Even if your child completes learning Konkani in 6th Standard, he would devote a considerable portion of his classes to learn the Devnagari Script which is also used by Hindi, Sanskrit and many other Languages of India. Hence it will not be a problem for him/her to switch over to Hindi or Sanskrit from 7th standard onwards.

If you get transferred by the time your son/daughter completes 7th, your son/daughter would already have a better understanding of Mother Tongue and that will benefit him in learning any other language from 8th onwards.

There are instances, the Hindi which is learnt as third language in 6th and 7th, is chosen out in 8th Standard for the purpose of accommodating compulsory Kannada while opting for Sanskrit.

14. I don’t have any problem with Konkani, but ..

  1. a. My daughter wants to learn Hindi, because she is fascinated with the language because of TV.
  2. b. My Son says he doesn’t want to opt for Konkani since his close friend has not opted for it.

We request, you as a parent, to encourage her/him to take an informed decision in their life. It is but natural that your ward is influenced by many wrong reasons. As a parent you can guide him by providing pros and cons.

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