The Kannada Development Authority has taken umbrage to what it sees as a move discriminating against Kannadiga students by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. On Wednesday, the MHRD announced that students appearing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2017 can write the exam in eight languages including English, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.
Conspicuously absent from the list of languages is Kannada. This came as a surprise to authorities in Karnataka, since Karnataka is the state that produces the highest number of medical graduates in the country. The state has 53 medical colleges, of which 18 are government-run colleges, with 7,095 seats, according to the Directorate of Medical Education.
This leaves students who have opted for Kannada as their medium of instruction at a severe disadvantage.
In response to this move, the Kannada Development Authority, a government body, has written to the Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar to immediately include Kannada as one of the languages in which the exam can be written.
â€śOur state is not just home to highest number of medical colleges in the country, rather an approximate 70% of children in Karnataka write their SSLC exams in the native Kannada language... This decision by the union government as well as the concerned department is putting all Kannadigas at the highest disadvantageous position, snatching away our fundamental rights in the federal system,â€ť the strongly-worded letter states.
It adds that allowing other languages for the exam, â€śand doing away with right of 7 crore Kannadigas is indeed severe injustice meted out to us.â€ť
When contacted, an official from the Department of Higher Education said it will also be sending a letter to the Ministry of Human Resource Development immediately.
â€śLast year, NEET was allowed to be written only in English. The Union government has taken this decision without consulting us. We will write to the HRD Ministry and demand that Kannada be included before the exam in 2017,â€ť an official from the Higher Education Department said.