Defending his newly-proposed policy on medium of instruction (MoI), Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Wednesday said he would strongly back regional languages like Marathi and Konkani, as compared to English, in Goa's primary schools.
"I studied in a Marathi school up to the sixth standard and my English is as good as anyone else's," Parrikar told reporters following a meeting of his cabinet, which formally approved the new MoI policy.
Parrikar later joined the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) where he studied metallurgy, and went on to become the first IIT-educated chief minister in India.
The new policy proposed by the Parrikar government will be vetted by a government-appointed panel of educationists and will be kept open to objections and suggestions.
The question whether the medium of instruction in Goa's schools should be English, regional languages or the parents should be empowered to decide it, was one of the major poll issues.
The BJP had been insistent on making regional languages as a medium of instruction for students in primary schools, while the Congress had backed the idea of allowing parents to choose the language to impart education to their children.
Parrikar now claims that he was in favour of students learning in their mother tongue because it was a globally and scientifically accepted principle.
"A good student can learn in any language, whether it is English, Marathi, Hindi or French. But if the student finds it difficult to study, it is scientifically proven that he finds it easier to learn in the mother tongue," Parrikar said.