Decline of Kannada Medium Schools: Is It because of English Craze..?

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By Francis Saldanha
Bellevision Media Network


Francis J. Saldanha, from Moodubelle is a B.A. graduate from Sri Poorna Prajna College, Udupi, of Mysore University (1979) and is presently based in Bahrain, where he is working as a front office executive for one of the well known Greek company. He is a passionate writer and regular blogger. Sports person and always considered Gardening as his main hobby in the Gulf.



Belle School Centenary Special - 1


School is the basic unit organization of formal education system. To build creative, disciplined and dynamic leaders of tomorrow who will lead others by example and be active global citizens contributing richly to our society, nation and the world. The school believes in bringing an overall personality change in students thus providing our great nation a perfect citizen to safeguard human values and lead the world to strive for excellence in forms of knowledge, humanity and make our country a better place to live with the blessings of nature.



The objective of any good Educational Institution is to produce good citizens for the country. The environment in which the child grows helps in a long way in the development of students. The future of our country depends on the students where you are in a process of making a very important decision. Every student has a hidden talent.  Education is the most important tool, which you can use to change the world. A teacher treats each student as an individual person with their own dreams and ambitions. In this way the school helps you make the most of your dreams come true hence our institution is not just a mere campus that offers quality education, but it’s about making achievements possible.


Among one of the most popular schools in Udupi Taluk and District has been  our own Church Aided Higher Primary School, Moodubelle, located opposite to the Main road. The school is managed by the Catholic Board of Education, Mangalore. The school was etablished in 1913 and had the privilege of being managed by farsighted and caring Correspondents of St. Lawrence Church and Educational Institutions and CBE. As the Church Aided Higher Primary School Moodubelle celebrates its Centenary this year, being a former student of this well known school during the formative years of my early life, I too pay my utmost respect to all the teachers who taught me in particular and all the teachers in general who rendered their service to this school for the last hundred years.


Similarly, a large number of successful students from Moodubelle and the neighbouring villages who had an opportunity to study in the Church Aided Higher Primary School may remember their own teachers and may have fond memories about them and the school as well and making a name for themselves and service to the nation in various chosen fields. I could recall some of the teachers who taught me when I was in the school from 1964 to 1971. A good teacher is like a candle it consumes itself to light the way for others and affects eternity. He or she can never tell where their influence stops and special teachers are very wise and see tomorrow in every student eyes. My teachers at Church Aided Higher Primary school have played a pivotal role in equipping me with requisite knowledge with life skills. Who have contributed remarkably to what I am today.


The emergence of nuclear families with couples preferring one or two children, and the desire to send their children to English medium schools has led to a decline in the intake.  The dwindling number of students saw a portion of the school building getting converted in to St Lawrence College since last two years. Despite efforts to improve enrolments, the student strength in the last few years has been hovering around the 200-250 mark. In addition to free uniforms, textbooks, midday meals and milk provided by the government, philanthropists have been providing financial help, notebooks and other stationeries to the deserved students to make avail of the good facilities, good infrastructure and above all quality education at this very institute.


The bulk of Indian illiterates live in the country’s rural areas, where social and economic barriers play an important role in keeping the lowest strata of society illiterate. Government programs alone, however well intentioned, may not be able to dismantle barriers built over centuries. The State government speaks of developing Kannada language but is closing Kannada medium schools. The Karnataka government should develop and promote Kannada language and Kannada Medium Schools by ensuring that good quality education is provided to children in Kannada as well to encourage them to enroll in Kannada medium schools as well. More facilities should be provided to Kannada-medium school to attract students, recognizing community participation as one of the effective strategies to improve access and quality in education especially through Kannada Medium Schools.


The government should frame rules which make Kannada medium education mandatory from Class I to Class VII. Also, government should stop granting permission to private schools. Parents’ mindset and government’s failure to enforce appropriate laws are the main reasons for the present predicament of Kannada schools.  People are bowled over by the English craze, but they do not realize that if students do not receive good teaching in private schools, they neither learn Kannada nor English.  In my personal opinion if a student is taught in his mother tongue (Kannada) the learning process becomes easy and he or she can achieve all-round development.


There is no relationship between religion and language. All people should love all languages but as see that our own Church Aided Higher Primary School Moodubelle, the 100 years old institution will remain functioning where parents can send their children to study and brighten their future. As we move forward, as always will remain humble and indebted to our beloved Alma Mater.



Comments on this Article
venkat, Bellary Mon, January-10-2022, 4:27
Thank you Francis Saldanha for being addressing our Kannada education with your beautiful concepts. My point is, If there are no students in Kannada medium school then obviously it will affect higher school also. I appreciate the efforts of Mr. Saldanha and the concerns shown by the readers. Thank you for the blog and keep posting these types of stories to grow up the Kannada medium and Education in our state
Philip Mudartha, Navi Mumbai Fri, May-9-2014, 8:59
My 77 boys and girls of 2nd Yr PU Commerce have created history! When should I be back with you to celebrate your proud moment? Nothing is impossible with faith!
Philip Mudartha, Mumbai Wed, December-11-2013, 6:22
I am back in Mumbai after a 10-hrs long visit to all five instiutions control of under Belle St. Lawrence Church. I inspected some of the works related to marking the 100-year milestone. I sat through some Performances of Pratibha Karanji. I addressed 12th Std Commerce students, 77 of them, for 45 minutes or so. I spoke to teachers, students, office staff and mid-day meal kitchen staff. I ate a meal too. I will tell the story some other time. To comment on the title and them eo fthis article: may I ask if Kannada is the mother tongue of the students studying here? Tulu, Konkani, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and Urdu speaking children learn Kannada at school in the first year at school. Therefore, the emotive issue of Kannada as mother tongue should be forgotten. It is THE state language. Therefore, it has to be studied as primary language. It does not have to be the language to study other subjects, unless the state forces its residents or students opt or schools offer. Under all options, teaching capabilities of all subjects Kannada medium must be built for teachers. This is done only if stsate universities, colleges and teacher training colleges teach using Kannada medium.
John Fernandes, Moodubelle/Nottingham UK Mon, December-9-2013, 7:46
School management decided to celebrate centenary celebrations lets give our support.why we have to dig our past and present school administration. Come down on 29th December n put forward some development plans.Still we can rescue our school n poor people can get some decent Education. Jai Ho
Franky Pereira, Mumbai Mon, December-9-2013, 12:34
You are absolutely right dear Citizen, Moodubelle! It is a great occasion for everyone to join hands especially every Belleans to extend their support to the organizers and make this mega event a great success!! That should be the spirit!for the time being the other issues!!
James Castelino, Moodubelle Sun, December-8-2013, 11:14

Very Valid point Roshan Dsouza Moodubelle/London. I think our Catholic board should think of running this institute by Convent Sisters.

Roshan Dsouza, Moodubelle/London Sun, December-8-2013, 10:34
Nothing is impossible. It is absolutely depending on what you want and how you take it? I don't agree people study from English medium are brilliant or smart and Kannada medium are not? We have many examples around. We should be practical. Every parent cannot afford to send their kids to English medium. If you take the statistics of Moodubelle there are more than 25% of the people who still lives in below poverty level. In the past very house there were 4 - 5 kids in the family and now it is 1 or 2. So we cannot consider that statistics today and compare. As said by Soazam Moodubelle let us not think about if kannada medium school is going to survive or die? Let us think and see how we can improve the present one. There are still many ways to improve. Last few years Belle primary school was not handled properly and some of the teachers took it for ride and spoiled its reputation. As per my opinion if this school administration given to Betheni Convent Sisters I am sure this school again raise up same like the past and you will see the difference.
Citizen, Moodubelle Sun, December-8-2013, 12:05
I think ultimately global language has more takers. That should not hider centenary celebrations!!! Every one has their own opinion and choice. Do not discourage old students and supporters though we speculate regional medium may not last another century!! Milestone celebrations are as important as our own birthday or anniversary celebrations!!! None of us live for 200 years....but we celebrate events and memories....! There is choice for all of us to contribute or stay away!! Celebrate and take part in joy or stay away like...and grumble...!!!
Prashanth Lobo, Mangalore / Bahrain Sun, December-8-2013, 3:07
Arguably the greatest advantage of studying in English medium schools is that your career prospects and employment opportunities can vastly increase. People who can speak English fluently (possibly together with a first language) are highly sought after by companies of many types, including international companies. When seeking work, proficiency and confidence in speaking and understanding English can put you at a distinct advantage. English is very often the language used for many software programs and for those that are technologically minded and ambitious; the study of English at an early age can provide every student with useful benefits and knowledge. So in this perspective I fully endorse your opinion dear Tourist, Udupi / Canada that in this global era, we will serve our children well by giving them the opportunity to learn and excel in the popular medium, which is ENGLISH!
Prasanth Lobo, Mangalore / Bahrain Sun, December-8-2013, 3:05
Dear Tourist, Udupi / Canada, apart from the upcoming Centenary celebrations of the school, which is a landmark achievement in itself for to cherish and a day to remember in every student's life (past and present). Now then, looking at the future and rise of English medium schools everywhere especially in Udupi district there is no doubt in my mind that most of the Kannada Medium schools will disappear soon( how soon still to be known!). Contnued..
Tourist, Udupi / Canada Sat, December-7-2013, 11:48
While thanking the author for a thoughtful article, I must present a slighty differnt pitch. As Darvin said "it is not the fittest or the fastest who will survive, rather the most adaptable". Things have changed over the past 100 years. We can t apply the same social fabric/yard stick to the current evironment. Our kids face different challenges and performance indicators. The ability to communicate and cope with the English language is perceived as a sign of good education. We are aware of this, let us not tweak the reality by mixing sentimental baggage. While the Kannada Medium has served us spendidly over the decades (many of our Kanada medium Alumni have matched and excelled ones from the best English institutions), we should be open to recognise the trend and adapt to the sign of times. 30 years ago, it was hard for us to get into English mode, because there was no English in the air. These days, the presence of English is all around and it is not as challenging as it was during the past generations to adapt to English as a medium of curriculum. In this global era, we will serve our children well by giving them the opportunity to learn and excel in the popular medium.
Vincent Dsouza, Udupi Sat, December-7-2013, 10:43
There is no doubt that we all old students should support the Centenary celebration of our Primary School as it our school which helped us to shape our careers. Yes we all are with our school. But the big question is, do not waste money on buildings, celebrations unnecessarily. Instead put you money behind the English Medium School which is the future of our Children. Improve the facilities, hire good teachers and improve over all standard so that this will attract students. Also another important question, if today Primary School is in danger then what will happen to our High School in next 10 years. I am sure if the High School Management is not waking up from the sleep and face the challenges head on, we are in for another major trouble in 10 years. Rise, Awake and Act Now.
Rahul, belle Sat, December-7-2013, 1:44
Rightly said Juliana, belle. Now nobody wants to send their children to Kannada Medium School even a low daily wage worker, every parents wants to send their children to English Medium school. It is a waste of time and money if management wants to renovate kannada medium school, as i know there are only 5-6 students are there in 1st standard class in kannda medium. It is oblivious feeling emotionally during celebration, but this emotion won t stay long time. Concentrate on English medium school, even belle parishioners children are going to St mary s school, Udupi, Cycily s School udupi, Little rock brahmavara, Don bosco shirva. If management wants to invest,invest in English medium school.
Anthony Rebello, Udupi Sat, December-7-2013, 12:40
It goes to say that those who have studied in this school have forgotten one thing and that is gratitude. The article from Mr Francis Saldanha was not directly related to ask anyone and everyone about whether the school will remain functioning or not but some of the comments / opinions are not in good taste. It is an affront to those who have some affiliation to this 100 years old institution. It would have been nice to suggest that can it be made more students attractive with more facilities for the children in the area who still want to study and parents will have a choice to send their children for Kannada medium school. The step motherly attitude shown by the school authorities for reasons well known to everyone by now for this school and not implementing new innovative teaching methods to equip the budding students are the main reasons at least I can think of for this predicament hence no one has the ambiguity of discussing this issue today what it has been known to everyone by now! Juliana Belle, its time to salute the founders and faculties very rightly so and Sozam Moodubelle, as you mentioned lets salute this institution for completing 100 glorious years!
Sozam, Moodubelle Thu, December-5-2013, 4:53
There are many children from backward classes study in this school. Even if it dies, let it die gracefully. This School has moulded many a lives. Let us salute this institution for completing 100 glorious years!
Sozam, Moodubelle Thu, December-5-2013, 4:50
With regards to the survival of the Kannada Medium school it is inevitable that the school going to die one day or the other. There is no need to get emotional about this because change is the way of life. Few decades back when many children went to school, other few sat at home and helped their parents in agriculture and other household chores. Later, almost every kid in our area started going to school, quite a many of them went to English Medium and few remained in Kannada Medium. In a coming decade or two, things may change and we may scrap this schooling system also, who knows?! The point here is English Medium was need of the hour and as many commentators said here we all would like to send our kids to best school around. Sad part is that last few years our administration is missing that vision and made some errors is planning the projects. Not strengthening our English Medium School was a big mistake as other schools around provided better teachers and better infrastructure. Starting Degree College was another blunder by our administration. This money could have been utilized for other projects.
VikasBelle, Moodubelle Thu, December-5-2013, 4:14
Dear people,if you realy like this kannada medium school then why school management opened english medium school in belle?whoever suport to open this english medium school is there any kid studying in that english medium school?i hope there s no one coz i have seen they are studying in udupi,brhmavara,kaup.
Juliana, Belle Thu, December-5-2013, 2:38
I would loudly suggest, lets call it a day for 'Church aided primary school'. I'm not against to the school and I do respect the emotions and understand the concerns but looking at the future's prospective, it is a right time to pull the shutters off and transfer all the existing students to English medium school with the same Kannada medium fees structure for better challenging future. That would be a great celebration, transformation and right decision for this school at a centenary year. I'm pretty sure, none of us wants to send our Childrens or grand Childrens to Kannada medium school due to challenging world and this school is still 10 to 15 years behind compare to our surroundings due to lack of dis-ordinance and miss management by the administrators. All were busy looting poor childrens money but none of them bothered to develop the school. There is no point wasting money for the grand celebrating, rather make it simple and utilize those funds for the developments. Celebrations will only last for a day or week or month!! But the development work will last forever.. Let's call it a day and be a proactive administrator, salute the founders and faculties.
Franky Pereira, Mumbai Thu, December-5-2013, 12:04
Awareness is very important in anything and everything what we do in our life. You all esteemed readers of BV are absolutely right in putting forward your opinions but in reality, what is more important is to suggest or opine what can be done to help this very institution and show our concern towards it! One has to understand the present scenario and address it properly. Finally the choice is left to the School management concern. We as old students have a moral obligation to see this institution still remain functional and in a better position to serve the students in and around Moodubelle and its neighboring villages to provide them with quality education in an affordable school fees structure. I for one am certainly not suggest others to send their children only to English or Kannada medium schools because every parent has their own choices in this regard. An Institution which is celebrating 100 years of its existence should remain functional where like minded people should come forward in supporting the very Institution in whatever form for its existence and to be proud of our school achievements and to be a part of this centenary celebrations.
Valerian Alva, Kattingeri / Dubai Wed, December-4-2013, 11:57
Thanks for the timely article by Mr.Francis Saldanha. I do not agree with the views of Author, who writes .......... The government should frame rules which make Kannada medium education mandatory from Class I to Class VII. Also, government should stop granting permission to private schools. Parents mindset and government s failure to enforce appropriate laws are the main reasons for the present predicament of Kannada schools Is it really practical and is it in the interest of students in today s complex and competitive world?. Time has changed; it is not the simple and humble world which our parents and our elders have seen 30 - 50 years back. How a Kannada medium student will survive in today s competitive business oriented world wherein there are more than 100 candidates are competing for a single job vacancy. Will the smart and English educated candidate gets the preference or the Kannada educated student who do not have confidence and skills to communicate in the challenging situations. It s easy to say Save our Kannada School but it will be only an emotional call to support our school but not a practical one. There are limited jobs and opportunities available within Karnataka state for a Kannada educated student whereas the whole world is open for an English medium educated student. Just check with today s parents, how many of them are ready to send their children to Kannada medium when today they have only one or two children and no parent will compromise on educating their children at whatever cost. With regard to our own Belle primary school, all have remembered this school only today just because we are in Centenary year. When all nearby schools were busy in developing infrastructure facilities, improving teaching staff, focusing on extra-curricular activities and when there was a need to raise the standard, the concerned were literally sleeping. Other schools have gone far ahead of us by adapting to changing needs and times, but we all were in deep sleep. Guys it is too late as the times have changed and we have not kept pace with the changing times. Be practical and see the writing on the wall.
Well wisher, Moodubelle Wed, December-4-2013, 10:57
If there are no students in kannada medium school then obviously it will affect on higher school also. I appreciate the efforts of Mr. Saldanha and concerns shown by the readers. But my ones question still rings in my mind and I want to ask the school management after all these efforts and celebrations, expenses etc what is your next plan of action? How many children are we expecting next year to our kannada medium? What about the next 10th and 12th result? What about degree college? Are we still dreaming of building new degree college with no students? Who can reply this?
Vikas Belle, Moodubelle Wed, December-4-2013, 10:06
Rahul belle,am agree with you,who comented on this article is there any child studied in kannada medium school?if no one are there in future are you going to send your grand children to kannada medium school?
Rahul, belle Wed, December-4-2013, 8:32
Now all people positively respond to article,but how many of commented and those who comment "good article, rightly said, etc" are ready to send your children to kannada medium school? to say and comment is very easy, following is difficult you see.
Anil Vaz, Bombay Tue, December-3-2013, 12:31
Looking at the option blog here in Bellevision I feel that people who studies in kannada medium school still recognise and remember their roots moreover it looks like they wanted to support and to continue kannada medium schools even in the future. We cannot under estimate kannada medium students or schools. All talented and brilliant students come out from kannada medium schools even today but the fact if the matter is that it all goes unrecognised because of negligence
shashiprasad, Bangalore Tue, December-3-2013, 12:26
Thanks to my seniors for raising a valid question at the right time and opening the discussion.Perhaps we can help the school/admin by giving some realistic ideas, inputs which they can try to implement easily. If we have to raise the brand value of Belle school and give it another wave of life what are the 5 important things that the school may have to adopt in the near future?
Ronald Sabi, Moodubelle Tue, December-3-2013, 7:04
Good article and views on diminishing Kannada medium. I think increasing English medium schools are just due to demand and supply. As Francis rightly pointed out about small families today and choice of parents for English medium. Quick solution may not be a possibility here.
Benedict Noronha, Udupi / India Tue, December-3-2013, 4:40
I had suggested in 2003 to the Government to start one language as English from 1st standard so that kannada schools also get children. The government took 10 long years to follow that because it was a free suggestion. Now they think of doing so. Is there a clean kannada school? I mean clean and clear Kannada? Even the teachers of Kannada school do not or cannot speak kannada without english words. Our Political leaders too. so english has become unavoidable . so it is kanglish. so it follows that Kannada schools are going to be extinct. Nothing to worry. let us loof for england ire-land and america Australia. Our future lies there. so the fate here. mr Francis Saldanha good , you evoked this subject.
Herman Dsouza, Udupi Tue, December-3-2013, 2:45
A good article by Mr. Francis Saldanha especially to this modern generation where they think speaking/studying in their mother tongue is very inferior.
Shivadaya Shetty, Kattingery/Bombay Tue, December-3-2013, 1:37
I too agree with Francis Saldanha and Dr. Eugene. Now a days you can call it as English medium Schools become fashion or pride of parents. Every born child today and their parents wanted to send their child in English Medium schools. That too schools from Far distance like Udupi, Brammavar Shirva or Kaup. My personal opinion and view is that 90% students from Kannada medium are always more smarter, hardworking and dedicated than English medium students. Yes as Dr. Eugene mentioned kannada medium students difficulties to learn English subject because of their mother tongue and they have to put more efforts to study English. However they learn English language when and speak better than English medium students. If you look around there are lot of professional specialist doctors, business professionals, writers, Politicians, religious leaders and Scientists who studied in Belle Kannada Medium School. Apart from the above the fact of the matter is our Belle Kannada Medium school is not maintained or monitored properly since Benny Master and Sadananda master got retired from our primary school, it is neither maintained by the school faculty nor monitored by the Church admin.
Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle Mon, December-2-2013, 8:29
Dear Francis, I fully agree with your views. I feel proud to be one of the old students of Church Aided Higher Primary School, Moodubelle and had good fortune of being taught by dedicated and disciplined teacher who instilled love of learning and a sense of discipline which helped me to a great extent in my successive stages in education and teaching career. A large number of old students of the school have become successful in their own fields. You have clearly mentioned the factors that are responsible for the decline of Kannada Medium schools. The story is same in other parts of India where the craze for English medium schools has led to the decline and disappearance of many vernacular medium schools. For children, learning in their own mother tongue is more beneficial as they are familiar with their own language. Whereas children with other than English as mother tongue have to learn English language and the subjects as well which puts a lot of pressure on them. However, these are changing times and people have their own choices. Unless the existing Kannada medium schools improve their standard and quality, in few years these schools may face extinction.
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