Transformation brewing at government schools: Why states see English medium as only way forward

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New Delhi | Published: July 30, 2018 12:17:21 PM

A recent initiative by the Karnataka government to introduce an English-medium section in government schools in the state has not gone down well with a section people in the state.

government schools, English in government schools, English medium, government schools in UP, government schools in Delhi, English medium section, English in Haryana, education newsStates across India have been introducing English in government schools as they see little options otherwise. (Photo: IE)

A recent initiative by the Karnataka government to introduce an English-medium section in government schools in the state has not gone down well with a section people in the state. The move, aimed at arresting the attrition of students who drop out and move to private schools, has been opposed over fears that English will consume the native language. The Karnataka government has decided to introduce an English-medium section in 1,000 government schools as a pilot project.

N Mahesh, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education in the state, told the Indian Express that the shift is needed as students have moved away from government to private schools even in rural areas. Currently, students in government schools in the state learn English from Class V.

The case — of protests and the dropouts — is not limited to Karnataka alone. Yet, states across India have been introducing English in government schools as they see little options otherwise. With a large number of students dropping out of government schools every year to join English medium private schools, different states have introduced English for the benefit and growth of students in government schools.

The state of Punjab initiated a plan to introduce English in government schools this year. This initiative has been spread across 1,886 schools, at the middle, high and senior secondary levels. However, only 1,424 schools opted for it. Remaining schools stated infrastructure constraints, lack of enough students, failure of the state board to print enough English-medium books, among others as reasons to not opt for it.

In Uttar Pradesh, as of April 2018, 5,000 government primary schools have become English-medium. IE quoted state government officials as saying that on the basis of demand received, every block in every district will has a minimum of five and maximum of seven such schools. The only problem that the state is currently facing is the lack of required textbooks and this is not limited to English-medium books.

From the academic session of 2018-19, the state of Haryana has introduced English-medium section from Class 1 in 418 government schools and it will be extended to higher classes later. Under this initiative in the state, English-medium Class 1 will have not more than 30 students. In Uttrakhand, Science books in English for Class 3 students in all 15000 government schools were introduced in 2017. This initiative will be spread to higher classes in the years to come.

In Delhi, the state government has established five English-medium schools called Schools of Excellence from 2018 itself. Admission to senior sections of these schools is via admission test. Besides this, all government schools in the state have one section in English medium that was introduced over a decade ago.

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