Merkel raises German language issue with Modi at Brisbane

PTI Brisbane | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on November 16, 2014

German Chancellor Angela Merkel today used a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raise the move to drop German as an alternative to Sanskrit as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas and was assured it would be looked into within the confines of the Indian system.

Merkel, who brought up the matter during an interaction with Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit here, also invited the Prime Minister to visit Germany.

The Chancellor told Modi that India should work on a system where children can learn German in schools.

“Merkel did raise the issue of teaching German language in Indian schools. She raised it in a manner requesting the Prime Minister to have a look in it and see what would be the best way forward,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told presspersons.

In his response, Modi said it was important for children to learn as many languages as possible and assured Merkel that her concerns would be addressed by the Indian Government

“Prime Minister assured her (Merkel) that he himself is the votary of young Indian children learning other languages. He said how it is best done within the confines of Indian system, we will work it out,” Akbaruddin said.

Merkel also told Modi that Germany is looking forward to his visit to the country.

“Our relations are deepening...Waiting for your visit,” a tweet posted by the MEA said.

The Sanskrit issue has already been raised by the German Ambassador to India, Michael Steiner, with the Indian Government, hoping for a “pragmatic” solution.

As the Human Resource Development Ministry has decided to drop the German language, over 70,000 students across 500 Kendriya Vidyalayas from classes VI to VIII are supposed to switch from German to Sanskrit.

The 2011 Memorandum of Understanding that made German a third language was signed between the Kendriya Vidyalayas and Goethe Institute-Max Mueller Bhawan.

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani has defended the move, saying the existing arrangement was in violation of the three-language formula. She, however, said German would continue to be taught as an “additional subject of hobby class“.

In the three-language formula, schools teach Hindi, English and a modern Indian language.

Sanskrit teachers had moved the Delhi High Court alleging that the Central Schools had introduced German as a third language in place of Sanskrit against the education policy.

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Published on November 16, 2014
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