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A long way to go for English learning in government schools


Seven-year-old Ganesh Karthik, a class two student at Saneguruvanahalli Government Primary School in the city, is mesmerised by his English class. Son of daily wage labourers, his teachers say that all his parents want is to ensure he speaks English “quickly.”

His enthusiasm, however, is not matched by the language skills. Midway through the class he attempts to speak in English, but he pauses as his teacher stares at him, indicating that he is not pronouncing the rhymes correctly. It has been two years since English was made one of the core subjects in government schools from class one, but Ganesh can barely write letters, a situation commonly noticed in most government schools. The State government’s efforts to make English the medium of instruction in classes 6 to 10 in 1,002 government higher primary and 953 high schools some years ago has also not helped students much, department officials conceded.

So, what has gone wrong with the government’s efforts to save its schools by introducing English to attract admissions?

Most teachers acknowledge that their English is not up to the mark. “We have studied all along in Kannada medium schools and are not even comfortable speaking in English. How can I teach English?” questioned a teacher in a North Bengaluru government primary school. “Even if there is adequate training, how can a teacher, who has studied in Kannada medium school and college all along, be confident of handling English medium sections,” asked another teacher.

At a school in North Bengaluru, with most teachers ill-equipped to teach in English and shying away from taking up the responsibility, the teacher to handle English medium classes is identified through a draw of lots. In another school, a teacher with a post graduate degree in Kannada and who has studied in Kannada medium, now teaches Science in English. “Because Science has a lot of technical jargons, it is difficult for me to teach in English … I break into Kannada during classes,” she said.

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Printable version | Jul 16, 2018 4:34:08 PM |