Insisting that the dual language policy of Tamil and English being followed in Tamil Nadu is not a setback to students' eligibility or in their opportunities, the government on Thursday, January 27, rejected the idea of enforcing a three-language policy in the state and sought the Governor to expeditiously forward the NEET exemption bill for Presidential assent.
Reacting to Governor RN Ravi's remarks during his 73rd Republic Day address to the people of Tamil Nadu, pertaining to exposing state's school students to an opportunity to learn other Indian languages, Minister for Tamil Official Language and Culture & Industries Thangam Thennarasu said those aware of the history of agitations against language in Tamil Nadu would understand that other Indian languages would only mean the Union government’s agenda of thrusting Hindi.
Such a remark implies advocating a three-language policy for Tamil Nadu, the Minister said and pointed out that since the days of late Chief Minister CN Annadurai (since 1967), the state has been following the two language policy of Tamil and English. “I hope the Governor would understand that the two-language policy has not been a setback to our students in any way in their education or in opportunities for higher positions,” Thennarasu said in a statement.
In his speech, Governor Ravi had stressed that it is important that our school students learn other Indian languages like students in other states. “Depriving our students of knowledge of other Indian languages is unfair to all. Besides fostering brotherliness and better mutual appreciation, a linguistic intellectual and cultural cross-pollination will enrich all of us and also open several opportunities for our harmonious growth,” he had said.
Also, the Governor had said prior to NEET, the share of government school students in admission to government medical colleges was hardly 1%. Thanks to the affirmative action of 7.5% reservation for government school students, the number has improved significantly, he had claimed.
Thennarasu however, said that the 7.5% quota for those who cleared NEET could help them to overcome the "NEET discrimination to some extent," and that the reservation was only "temporary."
He urged the Governor to forward the TN Assembly Bill seeking exemption for the state from NEET in medical admissions, to the President for his assent. “I hope the Governor would approve the Bill and stand by the state government in fulfilling the dreams of poor and rural students in pursuing medical education,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, MDMK leader Vaiko claimed the Governor's remarks appeared to be an indirect support for NEET and tacit advocacy for implementing Hindi.