The introduction of English medium sections in government schools has come as a boon to a number of children hailing from rural areas. Parents consider it a rare gift as they look at it as a great fortune.

The efforts of the Department of Elementary Education and the Department of School Education have attracted 2,951 children enrolling in 239 in government schools across the district.

For class 1, 2,464 children have been admitted while 486 children have been admitted to class 6.

Education Department officials and headmasters of the government schools say that the scheme has evoked overwhelming response from the student and parents. It was a dream come true moment for the parents who otherwise could not afford to admit their wards at English medium private schools.

Most students consider it as a great opportunity. The strength may be meagre but it will increase in course of time and it is girls outnumber boys in joining in the English medium section.

For instance, in Government Higher Secondary school at Pudurpalayam near Lalgudi, all eight students in class 6 are girls.

“Students have been realising the relevance of English medium and have been evincing interest in joining the section,” says S. Parthasarathy, Headmaster of the school.

English-medium students make a difference in their performance. Self-esteem and capability have become the catchwords for the students preferring the English-medium instruction, says C. Rajendran, Headmaster of the Government Higher Secondary School in Puthanatham, where 40 students including 25 girls have joined class six.

He points out that the syllabus is student-friendly.

Old experiment

For the Government Boys’ Higher Secondary School in Mannachanallur, the scheme is an old experiment.

It has been running English-medium sections, courtesy the Parent Teacher Association since 2006-07. “Started with a strength of 50 students in class 6, the English-medium sections now has 412 students,” says its headmaster R. Govindaraj.

The first batch of English-medium students are pursuing Plus One course.

The headmaster says that the PTA has been footing the bill for major expenditure.

The English medium section has come in handy for the schools to get adequate infrastructure.

“We get support from parents, thanks to the growing awareness about the English medium among the parents,” he says.

Monitoring, need of hour

Some academicians feels that a sustained supervision on quality should be introduced.

They refer to the academic reputation being maintained by the central institutions like Kendriya Vidyalaya where an effective supervisory system is in place.

“A perception that government institutions — as compared to private services — fall short of quality could become a myth only through an effective supervisory system,” they say.

Intensive training

The Education Department has planned special training sessions to teachers handling the English-medium sections.

The scheme coincides with the recruitment of teachers through Teacher Eligibility Test. “Most teachers are fresh recruits qualified through the TET. Incidentally, many of them posses adequate experience in handling English-medium classes, ” says K. Selvakumar, Chief Educational Officer, Tiruchi.

“We utilise the services of principals of private schools, lecturers from the District Institute of Education and Training and experienced professors,” he says.

Refresher training would be conducted for all subjects from October 3. Teachers should converse in English with pupils, to develop the spoken English skill of the students.

The scheme received thumbs up in rural areas where students pursued primary education in English medium. “Many primary schools have got recognition only up to class 5 and they act as feeder schools for the nearest government school where English-medium is open from class 6,” says Mr. Selvakumar.

Educationists feel that the new medium of instruction would facilitate the children to pursue their higher education without any hitch. “Many students, on entering the portals of the colleges, find it difficult to understand the subject in English.

Colleges also offer bridge course to tide over the problem. All these odds will be eliminated in course of time,” they say.

“The scheme is a boon to students hailing from economically weaker section. The department utilises the services of experienced teachers and organises refresher training for ensuring quality.”

K. Selvakumar,Chief Educational Officer, Tiruchi

“Cooperation overwhelming from parents and teachers. Students vie with one another, gain confidence, develop life skills and prove their competence.”

R. Govindaraj,Headmaster, Government Boys’ Higher Secondary School, Mannachanallur

More In: TAMIL NADU | NATIONAL