BENGALURU: Non-Kannadigas who plan to study or work in Karnataka may soon have to take up a Kannada language skills exam on the lines of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
The Kannada Development Authority (KDA), which is working on the module, is expected to roll it out by November 1.
The Sarojini Mahishi Report had recommended reservation for Kannadigas in jobs in the private sector in Karnataka. Since the state cannot make it mandatory, it amended the Karnataka Industrial Employment Rules, 1961, a few months ago stressing that priority should be given to Kannadigas in private sector jobs. As per the rules, those residing in Karnataka for not less than 15 years and who can write, read, talk and understand Kannada are eligible to be recruited by private industries for clerical and other jobs.
“We are preparing some modules similar to TOEFL and one has to clear it to study or work here. There will two modules — one for the skilled labour class and another for the white collar employees. It will be simple Kannada,’’ KDA Chairman T S Nagabharana told TNSE.
‘If we do not insist that they learn Kannada, who will?’
The TOEFL is a standardised test to gauge the English language skills of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities. Preliminary meetings in this connection have already been conducted. The KDA chairman said short-term coaching classes will be conducted for the benefit of those wanting to take up studies or work in the state.
“If we do not insist that they learn Kannada, who will? When IAS and IPS officers posted here, especially from outside Karnataka, can learn the language, why can’t others’’? he questioned. If implemented, Karnataka will be the first state to do so, Nagabharana stressed. “This can be a model for other states to have a similar mechanism,’’ he added.