The Maharashtra government has asked non-Marathi medium schools to appoint special teachers to provide extra coaching in Marathi for students from Classes 8 to 10 belonging to linguistic minority groups, to help them become proficient. This step was taken as non-Marathi speaking students are apparently lagging behind their Marathi-speaking counterparts in government competitive exams, stated a government resolution (GR) issued on Monday.
The coaching will be given through a nine-month long Marathi Bhasha Foundation Course to be taught in all schools with students from minority communities, except English and Marathi-medium schools.
The GR, which was issued by the minorities’ development department, states that in Class 10, the Maharashtra State Council of Educational Research and Training (MSCERT) hold level-gauging tests every three months, to identify how much the students have learnt. Education officers will have to prepare a separate report of students failing the tests.
“This is being done to provide enough opportunities for success to students from minority communities appearing for Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) exams,” read the GR.
But English-medium schools and Marathi-medium schools having students from minority communities will not have to conduct these lessons. “This GR is for Urdu medium schools,” said Jayashree Mukherjee, secretary of the department, refusing to comment further.
Schools have been asked to appoint one special teacher for every 150-200 students in Classes 8 to 10, two teachers for up to 300 students and one additional teacher for every 150 students after that, according to the GR. Schools will have to submit number of students from minority communities enrolled with them, number of divisions, number of Marathi teachers currently in schools, to get approvals for special teachers, stated the GR.
However, Urdu schools said that they already have teachers to teach Marathi in the school. “We have introduced higher-level Marathi for our students from Class 5 for the coming academic year and Class 8, since last year,” said Saba Patel, principal, Anjuman-i-Islam’s Dr MI Jamkhanawala Girls' High School, Bandra.
The zonal education inspectors have been asked to hold a meeting with the principals of all Urdu-medium and regional mediums schools other than Marathi-medium by the end of May or beginning of June.
Class 8: Basic grammar such as nouns, adjectives, adverbs, tenses, compound, complex sentences
Class 9: Advanced grammar such as phrases, idioms, comprehension, translating English text into Marathi, group discussion, letter and essay writing
Class 10: Proverbs, report writing, speech writing, among others. Level gauging tests will be held every three months by the MSCERT to determine the learning levels of the students.