Staff Reporter

Over 1,000 primary schools will be upgraded to middle schools

CHENNAI: The School Education Department will soon begin work for the implementation of the uniform syllabus system in the coming academic year, School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu told the Assembly on Thursday.

Work in areas such as bringing out new textbooks with a common syllabus would begin soon, he said, in response to queries raised by members on the status of recommendations of the S. Muthukumaran Committee, whose report was tabled in the Assembly in October 2007.

The Minister said attaining higher quality in primary education, universalisation of secondary education, a common school system and good computer and soft skills training were the objectives of the department. He said the department hoped to achieve universal secondary education by 2015 and universal higher secondary education by 2020. The budgetary requirements for the same were submitted to the Central government, while the State had made an initial allocation of Rs. 200 crore, he said.

Over 1,000 primary schools will be upgraded to middle schools and over 1,500 new posts of graduate teachers will be created and filled. These would be part of the nearly 4,060 teacher vacancies that are to be filled in the coming academic year.

A new post of joint director would be created in the Directorate of Matriculation schools to oversee matters concerning recognition and renewal of permission.

Mr. Thennarasu said that henceforth, the department would pay the electricity charges incurred by panchayat union primary and middle schools.

The Active Learning Methodology that was implemented for classes six, seven and eight will be extended to classes nine and ten.

Introducing English lessons for students through radio and improving schools’ infrastructure were among the other initiatives for the academic year.

Congress MLA K. Gopinath requested the department to reconsider its decision regarding compulsory Tamil for all students.

He said schools run for linguistic minorities in the State, such as Telugus, found it extremely difficult. The Minister said he would certainly consider the request and consult the Chief Minister for a final decision.

In response to another query on the government’s stance on setting up new schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education, the Minister said the department was not against new CBSE schools coming up, but was cautious to avoid an exodus.