New sections for the first and sixth standard to be created for this purpose. English medium sections at primary level implemented in five rural schools last year proved fruitful in increasing enrolment, say education department officials.

Government schools in the district are gradually bracing up to offer English medium education by starting new sections for the first and sixth standard.

Experimentation with five rural schools last year in starting English medium sections at primary level proved fruitful in increasing enrolment, according to education department officials. All over the State, the experimentation was carried out in schools in 320 blocks covering 25,000 students last year. This year, about 1.5 lakh students are expected to get benefitted.

At the primary level in Tiruchi district, 180 elementary schools that have a minimum strength of three teachers each have been allowed to start new English medium section. At the level of std. VI, about 30 schools have been permitted so far, officials said.

The Government’s decision to start English medium sections came in the wake of the parents preferring private schools is to the advantage of teachers posted in the government schools. By maintaining existing strength or accelerating admissions, the sanctioned posts of teachers could be retained in the rural schools, says V. Jeyakumar, Additional Chief Educational Officer, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan. In recent years, teachers of schools where the sanctioned posts exceeded the 1:30 teacher-pupil ratio used to be transferred to institutions elsewhere in the district and to vacancies in other districts.

Though the implementation of ‘Samacheer Kalvi’ (equitable education) could bring about commonality in content, parents hitherto continued to throng private schools enamoured by the English-medium education. Henceforth, they (parents) would in all probability opt for English medium education for their wards in government schools since they would also be entitled to the benefits of all welfare schemes including free books and uniforms, according to teachers.

Mr. Jeyakumar said teachers at primary level were capable of handling subjects in English through exclusive ABL (Activity Based Learning) cards. Those at the upper primary level would be trained periodically at the cluster resource centres. “We intend to start English medium sections in all the left-out schools next year,” he said.

Over the years, the strength of students had gone down and hence the existing infrastructure was sufficient for the additional section of English medium students, Chief Educational Officer K. Selvakumar said. “There was good response to the move. All the willing schools were permitted to start English medium sections. At Mannachanallur, of the about 600 students admitted to sixth standards, nearly 20 per cent have been enrolled in the English medium section,” Mr. Selvakumar said.