March 2012 will mark the first batch of students who will appear for a Konkani examination as part of the Karnataka Secondary Education Examination (KSEEB). Konkani as a third optional language was officially introduced in the 2007-2008 academic year after a trial run in 2006-2007.
Former president of the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, Eric Ozario fought hard for the official introduction of Konkani as a third optional language. In the 2006-2007 academic year there was much debate amongst the proponents of Konkani on the script to be used before the government finally agreed on using the Kannada script to teach Konkani in schools.
Konkani is spoken in diverse communities primarily in the costal districts; this is an important historical moment for the language. President of the academy Kundapur Narayan Kharvi and the registrar B Devdas Pai met the director of KSEEB in Bangalore recently. This meeting has seen the board issue a new subject code for Konkani.
Devdas Pai said the director has set the process of preparing the examination in motion. "Academy has ensured that Konkani is now permanent fixture in the academic calendar of the board". He also added that it is a great triumph for all the effort taken to ensure Konkani is officially taught in schools.
The first batch of students appearing for the examination may not be that strong, only around 30 students, claims Pai. However, he is certain that in coming years more students will appear for the Konkani examination at the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) stage and this is where the true test lies.