AMARAVATI: The YSR Congress government’s decision to introduce English medium instruction in government schools in Andhra Pradesh has evoked mixed reaction in the state.
While the opposition parties have criticised the decision saying that it will kill the state’s mother tongue, education and social activists said it may provide children marginalized communities a level playing field.
However, a section of the activists are apprehensive about the government’s move to implement the decision from the next academic year as the state lacks the required infrastructure to impart education in English medium.
According to the order issued by the School Education Department, English will be the medium of instruction from class 1 to 8 from the academic year 2020-21. For class 9 and 10, English would be the medium of instruction from 2021-22.
Telugu Desam Party chief and leader of opposition and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu said that the move will deprive the Telugu community of its identity. He said that taking such a decision without adequate preparation will back fire.
BJP state president Kanna Lakshminarayana pointed out that the move may force a large number of students to drop out from the schools. “The transition would be hard on poor students from rural areas who might drop out of school as a result of the implementation of the decision,” he added.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu had also criticised the move saying that it would put Telugu in the list of language that are facing the threat of extinction. He pointed out in an article 196 languages in the country were facing extinction.
The Vice President said that teaching in mother tongue was required to encourage creativity in the children in their tender age. He dismissed Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s claim that it would help the people to access the increasing opportunities in the world saying that countries like China, France, Germany, South Korea and Japan had achieved greater progress without switching over to English.
Teachers associations at various levels have also opposed the decision saying that it will be hard for the teachers who have been teaching children in Telugu for years to master English. They pointed out that the children may also find it difficult understand several concepts in English.
The chief minister defended his government’s decision saying English was must for children to compete and get jobs. “We are competing with the rest of the world to get jobs. English is a must to face the competition,” he added.
He allayed fears expressed in certain quarters about the preparations for the transition saying that all infrastructure facilities in the Government schools will be developed and all steps will be taken to impart education in English medium in the Government schools from the next academic year.
Jagan Mohan Reddy pointed out that Andhra Pradesh’s illiteracy rate has been 33 per cent against the national rate of 27 per cent and such a situation can be tackled only if focus is more from primary education. He claimed that the government had taken the decision considering this.
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