Smriti Irani takes to Twitter to call out Media spin

It was a normal morning for The Hindu yesterday. They posted a story which was titled “German to be taught in central schools again after holds talks”. The story said:

“Students in Kendriya Vidyalaya schools (KVs) will be able to opt for German as an additional foreign language, in conformity with the National Education Policy, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development announced on Monday, after signing a joint declaration of intent with Germany……The Human Resource Development Ministry’s earlier decision to discontinue the teaching of German in KVs had escalated into a diplomatic row, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel raising the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit in Brisbane last year”

In short what the story said: Kendriya Vidyalayas would now be able to opt for German as addition foreign language, after India signed a joint declaration of intent with Germany, in contrast to HRD Ministry’s earlier decision to discontinue German in Kendriya Vidyalayas.

Even shorter version of this story would be: HRD Ministry does a U Turn on teaching German

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And thats what Deputy Resident Editor at The Hindu, Suhasini Haider spun it as:

This got Smriti Irani’s goat and she responded to this allegation swiftly, putting all the facts out:

Lost for words, Haider chose to not respond to the factual counterpoints but instead tweeted this:

So what were the facts of this matter? In November 2014, the Board of Governors of the Kendriya Vidyalaya took the following decision of German in KVs (relevant portion from the minutes of the meeting) :

1

From this it is clear that German was only removed from the third language slot and transferred to foreign language slot as an additional subject. Comically, besides other media outlets, The Hindu itself had reported this exact fact in November 2014. The opening paragraph of the report itself stated:

The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghatan (KVS), which runs 500 Central Schools across the country, has decided to offer German as a “foreign language” instead of third language.

This same report explained the rationale behind it. The three-language policy did not permit any foreign languages to be taught as third language. Hence, to comply with this policy, German was removed as a third language and introduced as a foreign language. So in effect, German as a language was never removed, so the question of making a U-Turn never arose. And as the Minister explained, the recent Joint Declaration of Intent signed with Germany, allowed Indian languages to be taught in Germany and formalised the already existing framework to teach German in KVs as an additional foreign subject.

So where did this U-Turn come from ? Even The Hindu’s own report from November 2014 would help clarify that there was no U-Turn now.

And that should have been the end of that misreporting. But no, there was more. In a desperate bid to salvage something out of this, Malini Parthasarathy, The Hindu’s editor, chose to spin this response from Smriti Irani in the weirdest possible manner:

And for this, Malini P was trolled till the cows came home.

  Not only by general twitter users, but even by Smriti Irani:

 

All we would like to say is, Malini P, get well soon!


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