English skills poor in govt schools

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  • Updated: Dec 04, 2014 15:25 IST

Though Uttarakhand government has launched a programme that aims to improve English communication skills in government schools, the curriculum may fail to succeed as students have very poor understanding of the language, a survey said.

The state government on Monday had introduced the ‘Unnati’ programme, a three-month package that prepares students of government schools so that they can freely speak and understand English without hesitation’.

More than 76,000 students would be trained in 750 government schools, of which 500 schools located in remote areas.
A private firm IL&FS Education Technology Services Limited has been roped in to improve English communication skills in government schools.

According to a survey conducted by Mumbai-based not for profit organisation Pratham Education Foundation in 2012, 19.1% government schools students in class one to class eight in the state have knowledge of English.

The survey found that only 17.6% of the students could read the alphabets in capital letters, 21.5% could read small letters and 23.8% read words. A meager 17.9% of the students could read sentences in English, the survey found. The NGO will release its 2013 report in January 2015.
“Basic English including alphabet is taught in government schools. But, about 19.1% students of government schools are unaware of the subject,” Shyam Dayal Singh, the state in-charge of the foundation told Hindustan Times,
“Besides, only 17.9% students can read English sentences. I think the overall reading pattern in government schools is very poor.” “The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) in its report of 2013 has even proved this,” he added.

The statistics are pointers to the decline in understating of ‘reading’ in government schools, said educationists.
“I think, the state government should focus on bettering infrastructure and improving quality education,” said Anant Solanki, principal of a junior high school in Kalsi.

“Unless, the government provides teachers, enough training and skill development, the quality of education in government schools cannot be changed.”
Teachers too demanded strengthening of infrastructure, manpower and long-term education policies to improve the quality education to students.
“Apart from strengthening manpower and infrastructure, the government should make strategies to boost student strength also,” said Sunita Rawat, a teacher at a government primary school at Gavela in Dehradun district’s Chakrata.

“Generally, students belonging to lower strata of society come to government schools. It is difficult to say whether introduction of functional English will make course difficult or friendly for (the) kids.”

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