Hyderabad, Mar 25 (PTI) BJP and other opposition parties and academicians have welcomed the Telangana government’s decision to make Telugu compulsory in schools in the state from academic year 2018-19.

The Telangana Legislative Assembly yesterday passed the Telangana (Compulsory Teaching and Learning of Telugu in Schools) Bill, 2018, making teaching and learning Telugu compulsory in all schools from academic year 2018-19.

Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Education Kadiam Srihari, who moved the bill, said the government’s idea was to protect and promote the language.

Telugu shall be taught as a compulsory subject from classes 1 to 10 in all schools, commencing from the academic year 2018-19 in a “phased manner,” the bill said.

The bill provides for making Telugu compulsory from classes 1 to 10 in all government, aided and private schools with state syllabus having Telugu and English as mediums of instruction.

For private and central schools with CBSE, ICSE, IB and Cambridge syllabus having English as medium of instruction, Telugu would be compulsory subject for standard I at primary level and for standard VI at high school level and it would be extended to further classes progressively.

The move would not be burdensome for non-Telugu speakers, Srihari said.

The opposition BJP, TDP, CPI(M) and the ruling TRS’ ally AIMIM have welcomed the bill when it was passed.

Saying that mere passing the bill is not enough, BJP floor leader G Kishan Reddy has said the official machinery and the teachers should work with dedication to promote Telugu language.

The state government’s orders should be released in Telugu and the assembly proceedings should also take place in the language, he said.

AIMIM MLA Jaffer Hussain, however, said the marks in Telugu should not be linked to the overall ranking of a student.

Former MLC K Nageshwar, a journalism professor in Osmania University, said such a move is necessary to protect the language and culture.

“It has to be. Otherwise, what is happening is, there is an increasing erosion of Telugu identity. Because, language is related to culture and identity.

“Once you kill the language, cultural identity is also killed. What is happening is, even our own children are unable to speak in Telugu,” he told PTI.

It is a “legitimate aspiration” to develop the own language which need not be contrary to other languages. People whose mother tongue is not Telugu can be given some exemptions, he said.

“If they are staying here for a long time, I think it is in their interest to learn the language,” he said.

“That is a part of life… If you want to stay in China, you have to learn Chinese,” Nageshwar said.

Paturi Sudhakar Reddy, MLC, who was elected from Teachers’ constituency, said the decision is appreciated by the teachers community.

The teachers favoured Telugu as medium of instruction, he told PTI.

He said they have suggested the government to make it easy for students whose mother tongue is not Telugu.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.