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In Andhra, Telugu medium schools to switch to English; TDP and BJP protest

There are about 44,000 Telugu medium elementary schools in the state, including Panchayati Raj, municipal and government schools.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad |
Updated: November 12, 2019 6:46:19 am
In Andhra, Telugu medium schools to switch to English; TDP and BJP protest Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy

Following its decision to convert all Telugu medium government schools to English medium, the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to set up English “labs” in all its Telugu medium schools.

While the government order, issued on November 9, said permission had been granted “to the Commissioner of School Education to convert all government, MPP (mandal praja parishad) schools and zilla parishad schools… into English medium from Classes I to VIII from the academic year 2020-21, for Class IX from the academic year 2021-22, and for Class X from the academic year 2022-23”, the state government said on Monday that the order would be implemented for Classes I to VI in the first phase.

“However, the Commissioner of School Education shall take appropriate and adequate efforts to implement Telugu/ Urdu as a compulsory subject, depending on the current medium of instruction in all the schools,” the government order said.

“We will protect the right of students given under the Right To Education Act to be taught in their mother tongue and won’t undermine Telugu language. Telugu will be taught as a compulsory subject. But we plan to switch the language of teaching from Telugu to English over the next couple of years. We will train all Telugu medium teachers and recruit new ones also. We want to implement this because Telugu medium students are lagging behind as compared to English medium students. Telugu medium students struggle to cope with studies in higher education and also lose out on employment opportunities due to lack of English skills,’’ said Education Minister A Suresh.

There are about 44,000 Telugu medium elementary schools in the state, including Panchayati Raj, municipal and government schools.

Education department officials said all teachers in Telugu medium schools would receive adequate training before they start teaching in English. “We are not going to switch from Telugu to English suddenly, it will be implemented in phases. Teachers and students will get adequate time to adjust,’’ said an official.

There are about 44,000 Telugu medium elementary schools in the state, including Panchayati Raj, municipal and government schools. Of these, about 4,000 are listed as “success’’ schools, where the medium of instruction is both Telugu and English.

Meanwhile, several political parties, teachers’ associations and unions have objected to the move.

“It is the right of every student to study in his mother tongue. Primary education is considered the most important, and if it is in the mother tongue, it prepares the students better. Why is the government enforcing English on Telugu medium students? There is no guarantee that English medium will fare better. We will continue to protest until the government withdraws its order. It is an ill-advised move because there aren’t enough English teachers to train all the Telugu medium teachers,’’ said Joseph Sudheer Babu, president of the Andhra Pradesh State Teachers’ Union.

TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, Jana Sena chief K Pawan Kalyan and BJP leader Lanka Dinakaran have also criticised the government’s decision.

Defending the move on Monday, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy said: “To eradicate poverty, students should get jobs, for which English as a medium of instruction is important… The state’s illiteracy rate has been 33% against the national rate of 27%. The focus has to be on primary education, which is why we plan to make Classes I to VI English medium… this will ensure a level playing field.”

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