Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has slammed former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu for opposing the move to turn all government-run schools into English medium schools.
"Where did your children study," asked Jagan Mohan Reddy to Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu and actor-politician Pawan Kalyan on Monday.
"Sir, Chandrababu garu, in which medium your son studied? Tomorrow your grandson will be studying in which medium? Sir, Venkaiah Naidu garu, in which medium your son and grandsons studied," Mr Reddy asked.
The chief minister also targeted Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan. "Sir, actor Pawan Kalyan garu. You have three wives, four-five children. What is the medium of instruction in the schools they are studying," he asked.
Mr Reddy was speaking at the National Education Day celebrations in Vijayawada to mark the birth anniversary of India's first Education Minister Abul Kalam Azad.
"If you want to compete in the world today, English is a must. That's why I have taken initiative to ensure that our children study through English medium."
He noted that when a government order was issued towards this effect, there was criticism from Chandrababu Naidu, Venkaiah Naidu, Pawan Kalyan and others. "They all should keep their hands on their heart and say where their children studied."
The chief minister announced that from the next academic year (2020-21), English will be the medium of instruction from the first standard to the sixth standard in all government schools. Subsequently in one to four years, English will become the medium of instruction till the 10th standard. He said Telugu or Urdu will be a compulsory subject in all schools.
The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) chief said poor families were facing hardship in educating their children. He said their children wanted to do well in studies and hence he was introducing English as the medium of instruction.
He announced that the government schools will undergo a complete makeover under the 'Nedu-Nadu' programme to be launched on November 14. In the first phase, all amenities will be provided in 15,000 schools.
He said his government was making all efforts to improve the literacy rate in the state. He noted that as per the 2011 census, the illiteracy rate in the state is 33 per cent against the national average of 27 per cent.