The HRD Ministry has advised all states and Union territories to have at least one government-run English-medium school in every block. This advice came on the suggestion of the Group of Secretaries set up by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). According to the Indian Express learning, the Union government has refrained from issuing an order of the establishment of schools. As the setting up of schools is a matter of state policy and Centre don’t intervene. This year on May 1 the advisory was despatched. The statistics says, the number of students enrolling in English-medium schools doubled from 1.5 crore in 2008-09 to 2.9 crore in 2013-14. However, a majority of school students in the country still study in Hindi-medium schools. There are some states in the country like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Delhi, have started offering the option of English as a medium of instruction in government schools.
The message from the HRD Ministry to the states also suggests English should be taught as a compulsory subject from Class VI. Though, the data by the government says that 32 states and UTs already teach English from Class I and four states and UTs have introduced the subject from Class V. According to the Indian Express report on January 15, the 12-member Group of Secretaries on Education and Social Development had pushed for promotion of English and science, saying English should be made “a compulsory subject in all schools from Class VI onwards” and “at least one English medium school (be set up) in every block along with science education facility in a radius of 5 kms”. In India, there are a total of 6,612 blocks.
The 12-member Group of Secretaries on Education and Social Development had also suggested that government schools teachers should be refrained from non-academic work. This group had also recommended that to promote curiosity and creativity, government schools in every state should follow the Finnish model which permits flexibility in curriculum. In response to these suggestions, the department of school education has assigned the National University of Educational Planning and Administration to formulate a report on the time spent by teachers on non-teaching activities and its impact on education. The HRD Ministry has set up a working group with representatives from NCERT, CBSE, NIOS to recommend ways to operationalise the Finnish model of school education. In Class X, students need “proper career planning”, so the Group of Secretaries also wants a basic aptitude test and counselling to be introduced for the same class.