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Five English-medium schools for rural kids

Aspirational Bharat can send its children to English-medium government schools, at least in the East Singhbhum hinterland for now.

The district is set to get five English-medium schools in Ghatshila, Dalbhumgarh, Chakulia, Baharagora and Patamda under the Centre’s Adarsh Vidyalaya scheme of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).

Conceptualised in 2010-11 to give rural children a head start in the competitive world, a model school has already started functioning in Dumaria, a declared Scheduled Tribe block.

Five more will be launched this year, though the academic calendar seems to be a little awry. The entrance exam for students took place in August first week and results are expected to be out in two weeks.

Enthusiasm seems to be high among parents and candidates alike. Though the five schools are offering 200 seats in all, 879 hopefuls sat for the entrance test.

“At present, model schools will run out of block headquarters. We have identified five acres where the main building will come up later. This is a centrally sponsored scheme implemented by the state in a 75:25 ratio,” said Tulsi Das, the district education officer (DEO), East Singhbhum.

The entry point of the model school will be Class VI and be extended up to Class X gradually. These schools, like other government cradles, will be affiliated to Jharkhand Academic Council. Each class will have a seat limit of 40 students.

Infrastructure requirements for each school initially will be minimal, with three rooms and an equal number of teachers — one each for English, science (including maths) and social science.

The district education office has also held walk-in teachers’ interview to fill up the posts. But whom they appoint finally will be the crucial factor for the success of the project.

As students will come from vernacular schools, including Hindi, Bengali and Odia, their adapting to English as a mode of education at Class VI will be difficult if teachers are not good enough or proficient in the language.

That may be a tall order, given that most teachers proficient in English opt to stay in cities and work in posh private schools.

“This concept (state-run English medium schools) is good but children will naturally have a problem. The teachers play a very important role here. This endows teachers with extra responsibility and work,” said well-known Jamshedpur academic Lalita Sareen.

However, insiders are optimistic that the teachers hired would be up to the challenge. District education officer Das said they would ask teachers to explain things bi-lingually so that students can comprehend classes better.

The idea needs to click as Adarsh Vidyalayas will be built in phases to cover 89 backward blocks in all 24 districts of the state.