Government schools across the State must teach English from Class one to encourage parents to keep their children in the public education system, said Kimmane Rathnakar, Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education.

Speaking after the inauguration of the Vidyavahini project under the Sarva Siksha Abhyan here on Tuesday, he instructed officials of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to work towards streamlining teaching. “Currently, a lot of parents pull their children out of our government schools simply because they want their children to learn English. Even if examinations are not conducted, we must teach the language from the early stages,” he emphasised. The Vidyavahini is an IT-enabled project for the department to monitor and supervise various initiatives implemented under the SSA.

Mr. Ratnakar said he had commissioned a report on the status of Urdu schools in the State, following reports that these schools registered high dropout rates.

He also spoke about plans to use funds, sourced from the 2 per cent that private companies are supposed to reserve for corporate social responsibility activities, to develop public schools. Mr. Ratnakar proposed that corporates could adopt schools. He said that around Rs. 300 crore was needed to be able to upgrade the current public education system in the State. “We do not have this much money. Which is why it will be good if the 2 per cent profit contribution, mandated under the Companies Act, is used for this purpose,” he said.

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