BENGALURU: While academics fiercely debate the recently introduced draft National Education Policy, the central government-run Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) in Karnataka have communicated to the state that they are unable to teach Kannada in its 50 schools because of lack of faculty and students for the language. Over the last couple of weeks, the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) has held talks with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) officials on teaching Kannada in these schools. However, the KDA has been told that most of the 50 KVs in the state do not have teachers or students for the language. According to the KDA, Kannada as a language has been made mandatory in all schools, including KVs in the state, under the Kannada Language Learning Act, 2015.“However, it has come to light that KVs are not teaching the language due to lack of students. We are seeking clarifications from the state government and the Centre on this,” said KDA chairman SG Siddaramaiah. Sources in KDA say, KVs are trying to “evade” teaching Kannada, as it’d mean additional budgetary and academic burden on them. “They show Kannada as an option initially and later withdraw the same, even if parents are keen on their wards learning the language. For example, in Mysuru, there are only five students at one KV. However, the school principal has said they require at least 20 students to offer Kannada as a language option. This means those five students will have to study Sanskrit, the only other third-language option in the state,” said one KDA member. KVS authorities admit there is shortage of teachers and students for the language. “As per our sangathan policy, a regional language can be taught at our institutions only if there are 20 or more students in each of our schools. Even for this, we have to budget for a language teacher on contract and cannot hire permanent staff,” explained one senior KVS official. The authorities, however, were quick to add that though they were keen on implementing the regional language as a subject, they haven’t done so also due to a particular point in the Kannada Language Learning Act. “The Act mentions only private, aided and state government schools. However, there is no mention of central government schools. Effectively, this does make it difficult for the sangathan to implement the regional language policy,” said a senior KVS official. However, with the KDA and KV officials having held discussion, the regional office will be writing to the sangathan in New Delhi on how best to address the issue. Q-papers, marksheets, PhD submissions in Kannada The state has issued a government order asking all varsities in Karnataka to issue bilingual question papers, marksheets and PhD summaries. It has also instructed universities to allow students in all courses to write exams in the language of their choice, options being English and Kannada. The order has already been implemented by the six agriculture and horticulture universities, while 18 other varsities are yet to implement the same.