Bangalore: It's curtains for over 800 schools in Karnataka. The state government has directed these schools to close down because they use English as the language of instruction.
Nearly 600 schools in Bangalore alone have been de-recognised for violating the language policy.
A 1994 government order makes it compulsory for all government-recognised schools to use only Kannada as the medium of instruction till fifth standard.
The sudden crackdown has dealt a blow to lakhs of students across the state and parents are worried and unsure as to what their next step should be.
Says a parent, Latha, "Children are the losers. Many children come here and the government has to make an effort such that the institution improves."
Parents, teachers and school authorities are questioning the government's actions. They have two questions - what was the government doing for the last 12 years and if the schools are being penalised, then why are the officials who permitted this violation being let off?
The state government has refused to comment and the education department is tight-lipped about the whole affair.
However, the Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association says it will be filing a case in the Karnataka High Court against this order.
Says President, Karnataka Unaided Schools' Management Association, G S Sharma, "The Education Act says very clearly that the government must give one year notice so as not to disturb any activity."
And questions are being asked about the discriminatory language policy, which allows schools permitted before 1994 to have English-medium education.
Educationists are asking for a common language policy and English is the obvious choice for some.
Says an educationist, Maitreyee Kumar, "If you see government school students come from the lowest income group and many of them may not be able to complete their education. Even if they give up their education at 10th standard level, they might still have a whole spectrum of jobs open to them."
While that may be a long way off, it's the immediate future of lakhs of children that hangs by a thin thread.