In a departure from the traditional “no-English-in-lower-classes” stand of some CPM heavyweights, teachers belonging to a union affiliated with the party have taken a move to strengthen the practice in all state-controlled schools, many of which are in the city.
Considering the increasing importance of learning English in lower classes, members of a CPM-controlled union of teachers working in the 44 state-run schools have decided to organise a training camp on teaching English for its members.
“Our aim is to train our teachers on some special methods, by which they will be able to offer quality English teaching to our students. What we intend to do is to ensure that our students can develop maximum knowledge of English despite starting to learn it formally from Class III,” said Bishnu Roy, teacher of Hare School and general secretary of the union.
Adhering to the Marxist government’s English-teaching policy, the 44 schools run directly by the state school education department, as well as nearly 60,000 others receiving government assistance, are supposed to formally start teaching English from Class III.
“Given that our institutions are run by the government, we are bound by its rules to follow its education policies strictly. But, at the same time, we have realised that it has become extremely important for students to have a command over the language early in life to do well in future,” Ray said.
He added that in the proposed camps, teachers will learn how English can be best taught to students without violating the existing government rules regarding teaching the subject at the primary classes.
In the existing system, English is formally taught from Class III but the rules permit schools to start informal teaching of the subject from Class II.
Sources in the schools said the teachers were prompted to take the measure following recent reports that after passing out from well-known government-run schools, even meritorious students were unable to manage good jobs as they lacked the skill to communicate in English.
“Teachers of all state-run schools have taken care to ensure that our pupils are taught English properly. Now, we realise something more needs to be done so that each and every student finds the English classes attractive. To ensure this it is important to train teachers,” said Roy.