Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan’s decision two years ago to teach only German outside of school hours caused a sharp drop in student enrollment and some 270 teachers lost their jobs, forcing the German embassy to seek central government intervention, according to You may have heard The Indian Express.
German as a “hobby subject” (optional) is offered to students in grades 6, 7 and 8 in these public schools. In some KVs, middle and high school students can also learn the language.
On March 29, 2019, Sangathan issued a circular directing its schools to teach additional languages outside of school hours to devote more time to work and technical education.
Sources told The Indian Express that student enrollment dropped from 80,000 at 369 kv in 2018 to 18,500 at 91 kV this year. They said the number of German teachers working at KV dropped from about 350 in 2018 to about 70.
Sources said the German embassy sent at least two letters to the Education Ministry to highlight the numbers and asked the KVs to teach the language during school hours. Sources said the second letter was written a few months ago, but there is no confirmation from the center yet.
When contacted by The Indian Express, a spokesperson for the German embassy acknowledged a “rapid decline” in the number of KV students choosing to study German since the 2019 circular.
Currently only 18,500 students can take German courses at KV schools. 271 German teachers have already been fired due to this fact, the embassy said in an email response.
The embassy said it was “working closely” with the KVS and the Ministry of Education “to find a constructive solution in accordance with the new education policy and the NEP 2020 and CBSE guidelines that would benefit students in achieving their goals. goals and the fulfillment of his continuous desire to learn German, being the most used language in Europe after English “directly”.
The embassy said it was “in contact” with the ministry “to explore possible ways and means of re-increasing German lessons in all KV schools.”
The drop in numbers comes at a time when Germany has become a popular destination for higher education among Indian students. In 2019-20, according to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, there were around 25,000 Indian students enrolled in German universities, making it the second largest group of international students in the country, after Chinese.
The Education Ministry did not respond to requests for comment. KVS did not respond directly to inquiries about the enrollment rollback, but shared a short note that it has reformulated the timeline for adhering to the CBSE directive to have at least one period of physical education.
He added that the additional language periods that were deducted from the time allocated to work and technical education were returned to the relevant subjects to conform to the spirit of the National Curriculum Framework.
Sangathan said that if at least 15 or more students in a school choose to study an additional language, they can do so after school hours.
According to a Delhi-based German teacher who was fired from KV in West Delhi in 2019, parents often do not want to allow their children to return after school hours. “It took me a year and a half to find another job. The 33-year-old, who spoke on condition of anonymity and is now a teacher at a private school in the Delhi pool area, said:” The pandemic has made it very difficult for the teachers I like that they find work again. “
The teaching of German in KVs has been embroiled in controversy since 2014, when then-Minister of Education Smriti Irani replaced Sanskrit as a third language mid-cycle in state KVs.
The move sparked a minor diplomatic confrontation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who raised the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
However, the center justified the change by claiming that the introduction of a foreign language as a third language was a violation of the three-language policy enshrined in the 1986 National Education Policy. The Supreme Court upheld its decision. In 2015, the KVs reintroduced German as an additional hobby or language subject.
German, as a subject, was first introduced to the KVs in 2009, with Max Mueller Bhavan and the German government providing academic support. From the beginning, this project has been highly appreciated and received.Germany, conducted by the Goethe-Institute / Max Muller-Bhavan for students, were other motivating factors. For example, more than 50 KV students have visited Germany at the invitation of the Goethe-Institute Max Müller-Bhavan in recent years.