New Delhi: German will be taught in Kendriya Vidyalayas as an additional foreign language while modern Indian languages will be taught in Germany, according to an understanding reached between the two countries on Monday to put a lid on a controversy that had erupted about a year back.
An MoU was signed between the two countries on the occasion of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit and under the understanding, a pact will be signed between the KV and Max Mueller Bhavan to formalise the arrangement.
"German will be taught as an additional foreign language," Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told reporters here. He added that side by side modern Indian languages will be taught in Germany.
"We have a lot of scholars who are intersted in that (learning Indian language)," Merkel said earlier during a joint media interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This marks an end to the controversy which had erupted about a year after KVs decided to stop teaching German as third language and replaced it with Sanskrit.
The governing board of KV had in its meeting on 27 October last year directed that teaching of German language as an option instead of Sanskrit be discontinued. The new understanding is a sharp departure from the earlier agreement of 2011 between the two countries to offer German as a third language in the KVs.
HRD Minister Smriti Irani has been maintaining that teaching German was against the spirit of the three-language formula and violated the national education policy. The KV's decision had triggered an uproar and had threatened to derail ties between the two countries.
It was criticised also by Merkel who raised the issue during her meeting with Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Brisbane in November last year.
The government, though, had announced that German would continue to be taught as an additional or hobby subject from class VI to VIII. The pact to be signed between the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) and the Max Mueller Bhavan would be a "fresh start" to the teaching of German as an additional subject, the Foreign Secretary said.
"It is fairly clear from the declaration of the intent that they have to conclude the agreement. To me, it would seem like a fresh start," he said.
German was introduced in place of Sanskrit in Classes VI, VII and VIII of Kendriya Vidyalayas in 2011 after the signing of MoU between the KVS and Max Mueller Bhavan.
The MoU had come under scanner after the new NDA government came to power and a right wing outfit approached the court against the dropping of Sanskrit in favour of German.
Talking about the MoU signed today, the Foreign Secretary said while German would be taught as an additional subject in the KVs, India would be working with the German side to promote teaching of modern Indian languages in Germany side by side.
"What we agreed to was that Max Mueller Bhavan and the KV Sangathan would cooperate on teaching German as an additional foregn language. They will be entering into a separate detailed MoU.
"Side by side we would be working with a body called the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Eduation and Cultural Affairs of the States in Germany, dealing with higher and school education on how to promote the teaching of modern Indian languages," he said.