With as many as 8,699 city government school students failing the Class 10 English exam of the Punjab School Education Board announced last week, English still seems be a foreign language for the government-school students.
Of 42,890 students who appeared in the English exam, total 34,191 students passed the paper. There are over 20 schools in the district which have recorded poor result in English as compared to other schools.
The overall pass percentage in the district has also declined from 62.8% to 65.42%, while the pass percentage in English is 79.72% this year. Pertinent that in Punjab, the English subject has the lowest passing percentage of 83.45% as compared to other subjects.
Lack of qualified faculty coupled with shortage of staff in many schools has taken a toll on the pass percentage. “Students from rural areas, who are comfortable speaking and writing in Punjabi, are unable to adopt English.
Moreover, only four government model schools are English- medium in the district, which is why many students are not well-versed with the subject,” said a school principal, seeking anonymity.
Experts say due to no-detention policy till Class 8, many students ‘take it easy’ while appearing for exams till Class 8. However, they fail to pass the successive years as it’s the time when they face the real hurdle and have to pass all the papers to clear the exam.
In many schools, owing to the staff shortage, teachers of other subjects, who themselves are not well-versed with the language, are often asked to take English classes.
Moreover, they don’t even interact with students in English, resulting in poor results. Sources say many faculty members even teach students in Punjabi while taking English classes.
Manjit Kaur, principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Hathoor, said, “The main reason for a large number of students failing the English subject is no-detention policy, and that the schools have been directed not to fail students till Class 8.”
At the Hathoor government school, as many as 23 of total 43 students flunked the English exam, including 10 students who got compartment in the subject.
At Government High School, Kot Mangal Singh, total 135 students appeared for Class 10, of which 24 students failed to pass the exam.
Pradeep Singh, school headmaster, said, “Most students who have flunked the exam have failed in English and science. A major reason behind the poor performance in these subjects is no-detention policy till Class 8.”
At Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Daheru, of total 29 students who appeared for the exam, as many as 26 students have got compartment in different subjects, including 10 in English.
Varinder Kaur, school principal, said, “Teachers are qualified but students show no interest in English. Many don’t even find the subject interesting.”
A school principal, seeking anonymity, said, “To uplift the level of the English in government schools, there is a need to have a practical approach. Though several modern teaching techniques have been adopted to raise the level of science and mathematics, no such methods are taken uplift English.”