The Gujarat education department is planning to open English-medium primary schools from the new academic session, scheduled to begin from June. The matter will be discussed during the review meeting of district education officers and administrative officers, chaired by education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, in Gandhinagar on April 9.
The move aims at achieving enrolment targets in government schools. A similar proposal was made in a five-member committee report on improving the standards of primary education, submitted to the education minister in July 2014. In order to improve the quality of government schools and compete against private schools, the report had stressed on English as the medium of teaching from Class I onwards.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation School Board has already implemented the idea of English-medium public schools from pre-primary classes (starting from junior kindergarten level) in the academic session 2013-14 from the city’s walled areas of Shahpur.
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This year, the AMC school board is opening two more English-medium municipal schools, one each in Ambawadi and Kankaria areas, for which over 125 applications have already been received.
Two such schools were opened in Danilimda and Dariyapur areas during the 2014-15 academic session. Thus, in three years (including 2015-16), the AMC school board has come up with five new English-medium schools starting from Junior KG.
“The demand for English language cannot be ignored. This is one of the major reasons why municipal and government schools are losing its students to English-medium private schools,” said chairman of AMC school Board Jagdish Bhavsar. He was also the chairman of the five-member committee constituted by the education minister.
However, the reaction of the RSS, which has already expressed its preference for the mother tongue, to this initiative is yet to be seen, keeping in view its strong influence on the state education department.
Apart from the issue of opening English-medium primary schools, the agenda of the April 9 meeting mentions the status of existing English-medium schools to be discussed. The state education department opened 48 upper primary English-medium schools from Class VI-VIII, out of which 18 are in the tribal areas, from the academic session 2013-14.