Chennai: A public interest litigation has been filed in the Madras high court to direct the state government to introduce spoken English as a compulsory subject and Mazhalayar Classes (LKG and UKG) in all Tamil medium government, aided and un-aided schools in Tamil Nadu.
A division bench comprising Justices S. Manikumar and Subramoniam Prasad before whom the PIL filed by former MLA M.Appavu, a retired school teacher came up for hearing, directed C. Nagarajan, law officer, Director of School Education, to furnish the details of the number of schools, i.e., government/government aided/local bodies (municipal panchayat) wherein English medium section has been opened and continued.
The school education secretary is directed to furnish the compilation of government order issued in the matter of starting English medium schools in government/government aided/local bodies (municipal panchayat), the bench added and posted to November 8, further hearing of the case.
According to Appavu, in Tamil Nadu, there were about 37,211 government schools, 8,403 government aided schools and 12,419 private self financing schools such as matriculation and CBSE schools, imparting education to about 1.25 crore students. In these 12,419 private schools alone about 40 lakh students were studying. The state government was spending Rs 27,000 crore for the purpose of education per annum, he added.
He said as per the education policy in the state, Tamil was taught as the first language and English was taught as second language from Class 2 to 12 in Tamil medium government, aided and un-aided schools.
Though English was taught, a student even after successfully completing plus-2 with very good marks, he/she could not speak or understand if communicated in English and there was a difficulty for these students in communicating or writing in English fluently and this difficulty causes practical problems for the students when they pursue professional courses and other degree courses in various institutions as they have to learn in English and the classes were conducted only in English, he added.
Tamil medium students could not fare well in the professional courses because of their lack of communication skills, more particularly in spoken English.
This inability continues even in work places. Therefore, a need has arisen to give emphasis to the spoken English in all the Tamil medium government, aided and un-aided schools from primary to higher secondary level by introducing spoken English as a compulsory subject from 2nd standard to 12th standard, he added.
He said similarly there was no LKG and UKG classes in the state board schools but starts only from first standard and this has resulted in loss of enrolment in primary schools in state board. Due to poor enrolment in state board, about 1,311 primary schools were functioning with less than 10 students and about 3,400 primary schools were functioning with less than 15 students. If it was allowed to continue, all the state government schools will be closed one day and the education will go to the hands of private. Hence, it was very much necessary to introduce Mazhalayar classes (LKG and UKG) in all primary schools run by state government to avoid closure of schools, he added.
For better communication skills
The petitioner said in respect of the students who pursue school education in English medium under matriculation and CBSE schools, after completion of their school studies when they pursue professional courses or any degree courses in English medium they find it very easy to understand, communicate and mingle with other students as well as with faculty and they have an edge when compared to the Tamil medium students from the state board.
These Tamil medium students could not fare well in the professional courses because of their lack of communication skills, more particularly in spoken English. This inability continues even in work places....