New Delhi(dna Web Team): Want kids in our schools to learn German? Get your kids to learn Hindi. If Hindi is a problem, any other Indian language will do.
This quid pro quo will form the basis of the Modi government's offer to Germany to tamp down the diplomatic problems caused by the human resource development ministry's surprise decision last year to discontinue German being taught in Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) schools across the country .
The Smriti Irani-led ministry has come up with this solution ahead of the PM's visit to Germany for the world's largest industrial fair, Hanover Messe, this month. The proposal comes six months after the government discontinued German as a third language in the state-run KVs and triggered a minor diplomatic standoff.
The new agreement has been vetted by the external affairs ministry. It seeks to introduce an element of `reciprocity' into the equation under which German will be taught as an optional subject in KVs and the Indian government, in exchange, will expect an equal number of schools in Germany to start classes in Hindi or any other Indian language. The government will run the new terms of agreement with its interlocutors on the German side in a day or two.
The government's proposed memorandum of understanding (MoU), however, does not offer any specifics on how many schools in Germany will have to teach Indian languages. It also does not commit any expenditure to train teachers in German schools. These details, ministry officials told ET, will be worked out later.
The fresh MoU, which will be signed by the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan and the Goethe-Institut, has been drafted after MEA asked HRD ministry last December to sort out all outstanding issues over the German language controversy fearing that it could cast a shadow over Modi's visit to Berlin. India is the chief guest at the Hanover fair -the US and China were in preceding years -and the Prime Minister's Office considers the event crucial to the government's Make in India initiative.
The government's diktat discontinuing German as a third language in KVs and replacing it with Sanskrit came in for much criticism and subsequently assumed a diplomatic colour when German Chancellor Angela Merkel took up the issue with Modi. The HRD ministry had justified the move on the ground that a foreign language cannot be taught as a third language subject in schools as it violated the three language formula enshrined in the national education policy .
Germany's Ambassador to India Michael Steiner has reiterated his stand on the issue and said the Supreme Court has allowed teaching of German language in KVs from class VI to VIII, and the government should implement the order.
“In December last year, the court had provided a very good solution for a pragmatic outcome which would allow to continue to teach German in KV schools,“ he told reporters.
“It is also possible to teach German in classes IX-X. Under the current situation, I think what we need is the implementation of what the court has said."