Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday castigated Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu for opposing the move to turn all government-run schools in the state into English medium schools from the next academic year, IANS reported.

At a review meeting with officials of the education department last week, Reddy had decided to go ahead with the conversion of the government, Mandal Praja Parishad and Zilla Parishad schools into English medium from Classes 1 to 6 in the first phase. However, the Opposition leaders claimed that the decision would adversely affect Telugu language and that students would find it difficult to learn in English.

In response, Reddy asked Venkaiah Naidu, Chandrababu Naidu and Jana Sena Party leader Pawan Kalyan on Monday: “Where did your children study?” He made the comments at an event in Vijayawada to celebrate the birth anniversary of India’s first Education Minister Abul Kalam Azad.

“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. “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.”

Taking potshots at the leaders who criticised the move, he added: “They all should keep their hands on their heart and say where their children studied.”

Leader of Opposition and Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu had raised concerns about Telugu language on Sunday. “We must learn English for career [but] if we don’t protect our language, the Telugu community will lose its presence,” he had said, according to The NewsMinute. “We will lose our identity. Taking such a decision without sufficient preparation is not right.”

Kalyan said the ruling YSR Congress Party leaders should learn from Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on how to safeguard Telugu language and culture. “Had the YSRCP leadership understood the true wealth of Telugu language, they wouldn’t have come up with the preposterous policy of banning Telugu medium in government schools,” Kalyan said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Venkaiah Naidu stressed on the importance of promoting teaching in mother tongue till Class 10. He said there was no problem if English was taught but added that the foundation should be in the mother tongue.

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