Demand for govt English medium schools

Demand for govt English medium schools

Amidst demands from Kannada-politicos for closure of English medium schools, some agitators in Mysore have called for the opening of government English medium schools. This conflict in demands is worthy of comment. 

The demand for English medium schools has been from weaker sections such as Dalits; in contrast, the opposite demand is from some of the socially advanced castes and politicos. 

The pro-English sections are firmly convinced that to move up the socio-economic ladder and gain versatility in competence and trans-regional and sectoral ascendency, mobility and employability, competence in English acquired from the very early years of education is very essential. And also they are apprehensive about the anti-English tantrums as a discouragement to the prospect of the upward social mobility of the weaker sections.  

Therefore, the two brands of agitations or demands signify a war in the educational policy zone. The government has to take decisions keeping in view the needs of the community and not be persuaded by political vested interests interested merely in widening their personal platforms. 

Whether as medium of instruction or as a mere language of study English needs to be studied well by Indian children from an early age. 

Their ability to read, write and speak English must increase manifold and the schools are the only agencies to have this accomplished. English teachers have to be produced on a large scale to man primary schools and high schools. 

Therefore incentivising English teacher trainees is necessary; this is very similar to the case of rural doctors and nurses.   With regard to the demand for closure of English medium schools, it is better to check whether it is genuinely democratic or supported by rational public opinion. 

M V Sridhara, former professor, Maharaja's College

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