Tamil medium teachers forced to handle classes now

Despite being launched with much fanfare during the beginning of the current academic year, the English medium sections in Government schools are struggling without teachers. Further, the teachers recruited to take classes in Tamil medium schools are now handling the English sections without training.

During the beginning of the academic year, there was a proposal to revive a training programme of the British Council for Government school teachers under the aegis of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) to handle English classes. However, it never materialised.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Headmaster of a Panchayat Union Primary School here said that of the 60 students admitted in Standard I in the school during the current academic year, 40 had opted for English medium. This necessitated the creation of two sections, exclusively for English medium students.

However, the schools’ staff had remained the same and the teachers, originally recruited for Tamil medium, were now handling English medium classes as well.

“The Village Education Committee tried to hire B.Ed. graduates for the English sections. However, such graduates demanded a monthly salary of around Rs. 15,000, which the committee, made up of parents who were mostly farmers and daily wagers, could not afford,” the Headmaster said.

Vacancy

V. Annamalai, National Secretary, All-India Primary Teachers’ Federation, which claims to represent nearly 23 lakh primary and upper primary teachers, said that even by the State Government’s estimates, there were nearly 15,000 posts of teachers lying vacant in Government schools in Tamil Nadu, for which the recruitment process was underway.

“English sections were started in 5,000 schools this year. Without filling up these vacancies, the workload of the existing teachers will be too high.”

M. Rajasekaran, district secretary, Tamilaga Aasiriyar Kootani, said that the Right To Education Act and the National Curriculum Framework of 2005 recommended teaching primary education in mother tongue or local language. “While the Government teachers welcome this initiative, they are overburdened. It would be preferable to strengthen teaching of English subject rather than promote the English medium,” he added.

A senior official in the Directorate of Elementary Education confirmed that the State Government had not appointed any additional teachers in Government schools across Tamil Nadu for handling the English sections.

Concurring that the workload of Government school teachers had increased, the official said that some announcement could be expected next year on appointing additional teachers.

As far as Coimbatore was concerned, English medium sections were started in 249 Government schools. A total of 4,553 students joined Standard I and another 298 joined Standard VI.