Khanna Congress MLA Gurkirat Singh Kotli on Thursday impressed upon the Punjab government to make the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and International English Language Testing System (IELTS) compulsory for those teaching English in government schools.
He said those teaching English in government schools are themselves poor in the subject and could not do justice to the subject; therefore, the result in the subject in government schools had been poor.
Education minister Daljit Singh Cheema, while rejecting the idea, said these tests checked only the communication skills of a person. “Whereas for teaching a subject a teacher needs to have an in-depth knowledge of the subject,” hence these tests could not be made compulsory for teachers.
Cheema, however, admitted that recently he had conducted a test of a few English teachers and their performance was disappointing. “Of the total 220 teachers tested, only 20 to 30 could write a few sentences correctly. It is a serious issue and we are having a tie-up with British Council to train certain teachers as master trainers, who would further train others,” Cheema said.
SAD MLA Iqbal Singh Jhunda raised the issue of a large number of frauds being committed in the registration of births and deaths in Sangrur district.
“People have to run from pillar to post to get the names and dates corrected on the birth and death certificates. While in some cases, the civil surgeon office obliges, in many it does not. Some people even have to pay agents to get the work done,” said Jhunda, while demanding that the matter should be resolved at the senior medical officer level so that people did not have to go to the civil surgeon.
Health minister Surjit Kumar Jyani said the civil surgeon office could act only according to rules and give the service in time as stipulated by the Right to Service Act.
Protest by Bains brothers
Independent MLA brothers from Ludhiana Simarjeet and Balwinder Singh Bains on Thursday protested in the House during the question hour session that they were not allowed to ask even a single question though they had submitted many.
In protest, they tore up the official papers of the legislature business proceedings before throwing the pieces on the floor of the House. They kept raising slogans against the SAD-BJP government for “not allowing” them to ask questions pertaining to various problems of people.
The speaker later explained that questions are allowed to be asked in the House as per the proportional strength. “Since you have sent all your questions during the last dates before the beginning of the session, that’s why those could not be incorporated, said the speaker.
However, the brothers claimed that they had sent the questions nearly three months before the beginning of the session. Congress MLA Charanjit Singh Channi refused to ask his question in the assembly in protest that his preferred questions were not incorporated.