Language schools in India have been accused of promoting “sadism” and “misogyny” by some parents who are unhappy about the closure of the prestigious Kannada-language school in Delhi.
The government on Wednesday cancelled the school’s license and put the students’ lives in danger, forcing the closure and the closure-related shutdown of other schools across the country.
The Education Ministry said the school is no longer accredited and has been asked to move its premises to another school in the city.
The government said the closure was necessary due to “security” reasons.
The Delhi government, which is keen to revive the city’s vibrant Hindi and Kannadiga-language schools, said the decision is being taken “to address the security situation”.
“The Delhi School of Language and Culture (DSLC) is under the jurisdiction of the Education Ministry under the provisions of the Indian Educational (Conducting) Act, 1961,” the education ministry said in a statement.
“The Delhi Police has been instructed to keep a vigilant eye on the school.
We are taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety of the students, the teachers and the school staff.”
The DSLC had been accredited for the first time in December 2015 after the government took over its registration in 2019.
The closure was the latest in a series of changes that have hit the Indian language education sector.
The state government said it had asked schools to submit their report by July 31.
The Education Ministry will now take action to make sure the students are given “adequate accommodation”, the statement said.
In December, Delhi’s largest English-medium private school, the Durgam, was closed by the state government after the school had a “large number of students who did not come to the class for a period of time”.
The Education Department said that it had notified the closure order on January 9 and that “schools will be given a month to leave”.
The school’s principal, Sankaran, who has been with the school for 15 years, said that “the closure is not linked to the Delhi riots”.
“I don’t think there is a correlation between the closure or any political decision,” he said.
“We are working with the parents.
We have a plan to make the schools work, but it is not a perfect solution.
The school will remain open for the next few months.”
The closure of Kannadas schools has been blamed for a spike in suicide, which has killed more than 4,000 people across the nation.
In a report published last year, a UN-backed organisation called the National Commission on Women said the number of suicides in the Hindi-medium education sector in the country had increased to nearly one and a half times the number in the English-language sector, with one in five students “caught between the walls of an isolated, abusive or toxic environment”.
It said this was the result of “uncontrolled stress and the lack of a safe environment to learn in”.
“Students have become increasingly isolated and have lost trust in their teachers,” the report said.
The Commission said a growing number of teachers and students in the language sector were “subject to abuse and sexual harassment”.
“In this environment, students and parents feel unsafe, insecure and are less confident about the school, teachers and facilities,” it said.
A report by the US-based advocacy group Literacy Now called the closure a “dangerous experiment” that was “unnecessary and unjustified”.
The Kannads had been on a waiting list for an English-only school for more than a decade, but the school was closed due to financial difficulties.
It was also accused of mismanaging its facilities and not offering enough English-to-Hindi tutoring for children.
The school had enrolled nearly 700 students and had a population of over 2,000, but only about 200 completed the course, leaving students unable to access tutoring.
It had also shut its doors for a few months in 2016, before being reopened a year later.
The Kannadees had also been hit by a string of recent incidents of violence, including an attack on a teacher, an attempt on the life of a principal and an attempt to murder a woman by students.
The principal died from her injuries.
The schools also faced financial problems, but that was alleviated when the state-run Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) took over the school in July 2019.
The state government had taken over the responsibility for the school after the Supreme Court ordered it to be shut down in May 2019, citing security reasons.
But the government later told the court that the CBSE was in charge of the school and that it could not take over the entire school.
CBSE officials told the Supreme Bench that the schools could be handed over to the CBSEs administrators and the administrators would have full authority over the education system.
A few months later, the Supreme Courts