In a virtual snub to Sniv Sena, the Maharashtra Government on Friday said it would adopt a policy for giving equal importance to English along with Marathi in school education.

“The government is planning to adopt a policy to give equal importance to Marathi and English in school education and we need help from all members of the state legislature to implement it,” School Education Minister Balasaheb Thorat told the Legislative Council.

His statement came against the backdrop of Opposition Shiv Sena getting aggressive on the Marathi agenda.

“It is important to know Marathi, but only giving speeches would not help develop the language,” Mr. Thorat said.

Considering the importance of English as a global language, the Government has already started teaching English from standard first in Marathi medium schools, he said, adding that English medium schools also teach Marathi.

On Opposition’s allegation that there have been an increase in number of English medium schools and decline in Marathi medium schools in the State, Mr. Thorat said only five per cent schools in the State are English medium and most of them are in urban areas.

“There is always an option available for students who want to learn in Marathi medium,” he said.

“Now the Government’s focus would be on improving quality of teaching the languages in schools,” Mr. Thorat said.

He said the State is doing better in education sector.

“Maharashtra is pioneer in implementing the Right to Education Act...The dropout cases in the State are also low in comparison to other States,” he said.

On a policy to permit non-aided schools in the State, the minister said organisations who can afford to run schools without help from the Government are given permission.