The Karnataka Development Authority (KDA) has sent a letter to Suresh Kumar, the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education demanding that the license of SLS International School, Horamavu be cancelled. The letter was sent on February 3, and KDA says it is expecting to hear back from the Minister shortly.
The school with hundreds of students enrolled in it, opened its gates in 2015, and has recently been in the spotlight for putting out a circular which banned its students from speaking Kannada in the school. The circular had said that students would have to pay Rs 50 penalty for speaking in Kannada.
After the circular went viral, the school denied it and said that the issue was being misrepresented.
Speaking to TNM, Hemavathi Harishkumar, Principal of SLS International Gurukul, said that she was out of town when the circular was issued, which was when the controversy broke out. Following this, she immediately came back to the school and issued a fresh circular, which rescinded the order. She even held a meeting with the parents to reassure them that the school was not against Kannada by any means.
â€śWe actually actively encourage them to speak in Kannada during their Kannada classes. However, we want the students to speak in English during their regular classes, since it is an English medium school, we encourage it. We have nothing against children speaking Kannada or any other language. We said that a fine would be imposed only to make sure that the students take us seriously,â€ť Hemavathi said.
Harish Kumar, the secretary of the school, told TNM, â€śThe circular was sent out by mistake as the typist had made an error. The school has a lot of students from various other states and they were disrupting classes by speaking in their mother tongue. We were trying to have better discipline in the classes by only allowing English,â€ť he added.
â€śWe didnâ€™t get any notice regarding cancelling of our school license, and it is unlikely that the Ministry will do so over this matter. I will speak to the Director of the Department of Public Instruction (DDPE) regarding this. The fate of a lot of students in our school would be at risk,â€ť Harish Kumar said.
Meanwhile, the school faced backlash on the internet, with people leaving negative reviews of the school.
One user said on Google Maps: â€śAny institution that denounces the usage of local language must understand that the proliferation of vernacular language will aid in boosting Indian Traditions. Just observe, how fast the literary feats in Kannada are dwindling. If we discourage it further, we will never see a new Kannada author again. I feel the school not only needs to be sensitive to this subject, but also enhance usage of Kannada in its framework. Perhaps a term of disaffiliation will teach a good lesson.â€ť
The school responded saying that they have been teaching Kannada from the beginning, and that the school was run by Kannadigas who were also trying to save the language.
Following the controversy, the school put out a statement on their Facebook page about supporting Kannada. â€śWe fully support Kannada. Even our school board is in Kannada, which is a testament to it. We are making every effort to save Kannada,â€ť the statement added.
The school offers classes from Nursery up to class 9, and are expecting to have the first batch for class 10 next year.