From the next academic year, lakhs of students from vernacular-medium civic schools in the city will get to learn mathematics and science in English.
To curb the high drop-out rate in civic schools, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to adopt a semi-English medium of learning in the primary sections of the schools, from Class 1 to Class 7.
Vernacular medium schools are those which impart education in regional languages.
“We noticed that several students were dropping out of civic schools because their parents were more inclined towards enrolling them in English-medium schools,” said education officer RR Bhise. “By converting to semi-English medium, children will also become more confident.”
The new pattern will be implemented in the non-English medium civic-run schools, including Urdu, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Marathi medium schools. At present, there are 1,021 civic-run non-English medium schools in the city.
“To ensure that even teachers are equipped to teach students in English, we have also started training sessions for them,” said Sunil Dhamne, deputy municipal commissioner (education).
As a part of this initiative, teachers of civic schools have started attending training sessions at the British Council, where they are being taught conversational English. “We focused on conversation English to enable teachers to build a rapport with the students by initiating dialogues in the classrooms,” he added.
This plan is being implemented as a pilot project at the primary-school level. Based on its success and how students take to it, the civic body will extend it to secondary-schools as well.
The education department of the civic body is also planning to incorporate a reading period for the students every week. “We want to inculcate the reading habit at a very young age. We are planning to set up extensive reading rooms and libraries in all our civic schools,” said Bhise.