2,750 Punjab schools to have English medium from April 1

Slew of steps: Rationalisation, online transfers, separate cadre for border areas, best school awards planned in 2018 for improvement in quality of education.

punjab Updated: Jan 03, 2018 09:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab schools,English medium,medium of instruction
The school education department will introduce the English medium in about 800 primary, and 1,953 middle, secondary and senior secondary schools. (HT File/Representative image )

The Punjab government has decided to introduce English as a medium of instruction in 2,750-odd schools across the state from April 1.

The school education department will introduce the English medium in about 800 primary, and 1,953 middle, secondary and senior secondary schools in the state with twin objectives of improving the quality of education and bridging the gap with private schools, education minister Aruna Chaudhary and school education secretary Krishan Kumar said at a joint press conference here on Tuesday.

The press conference was part of a series of media interactions planned by the state government this week to unveil the initiatives planned during 2018.

  • Free Wi-Fi and Internet facility in all government schools from June 1. MoU to be signed with service providers
  • Best school award to one primary, middle, high and senior secondary school each in every block
  • Free textbooks to all students proposed at additional Rs 78 crore. Facility available to all students of Classes 1 to 8 and SC students of Classes 9 and 10 at present
  • Smart classrooms with tablets and projectors in primary schools with funding of Rs 60 crore from NABARD
  • Sporting activities at elementary level to be promoted, policy to be finalised by January 31

While English medium is being introduced from Class 1 in primary schools, students of middle, secondary and senior secondary classes in 1,953 schools will be given the option of switching to English as a medium of instruction. “These will primarily be big schools that can have two sections — one for children continuing with Punjabi medium and the other for those opting for English medium,” Kumar told HT.

The department has already designed the module for teacher training programmes to be conducted in the last week of March. Asked about the availability of English teachers, he said they would be selected from among the existing staff to begin with and more English teachers would be recruited subsequently as per the requirement.

The state has 19,500-odd schools of different levels. The state government had initially talked about introducing English medium in 400 schools, but has given it a major thrust by including a large number of schools. Another decision is expand the “Padho Punjab Padhao Punjab” programme, which was started in primary and middle levels in August 2017 to improve learning levels, to high schools from the new academic session.

Teacher rationalisation, online transfers

Kumar said the department had prepared the draft teacher rationalisation (placement of teachers in accordance with pupil-teacher ratio) and transfer policies which would be submitted to the council of ministers for approval. “The rationalisation exercise will be carried out this month. The transfer policy will come into effect from April 1. Teacher transfer will be carried out in online mode for transparency,” he said. Already, Haryana, Gujarat and Karnataka are among the states where teacher transfers are done online.

CCTV cameras will be installed in 207 schools from where complaints of mass cheating have been received in previous years.

Another step being planned is to create a separate border area cadre of educational administrators and teachers to deal with teacher shortage in Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur and Fazilka districts. The department has prepared the draft service rules for approval of the state cabinet. In this cadre, teachers will be promoted only within these districts.

Besides drafting updating service and departmental rules of employees of different administrative and teaching cadres, the department is planning to directly fill 50% posts at principal-level from among the existing teachers who have five to seven years of experience to “bring enthusiasm in school administration,” he said.

Checking mass copying

With the board examinations just a few weeks away, the school education department has decided not to allow students to appear in exams on their school campus. “The exam centre will be set up at school other than the one where students are studying. The nearest school will be preferred. While CCTV cameras will be installed in 207 schools from where complaints of mass cheating have been received in previous years, strict action will be taken against teachers and students for copying,” Kumar said.

The Punjab School Education Board has also decided to involve all teachers in checking of answer-sheets, draft private schoolteachers for exam duty, increase the number of evaluation centres to 400 from 168 and use a mobile app for total of marks to streamline the examination and evaluation process. The system of re-evaluation of answer-sheets has been started for the first time.

Asked about the delay in delivery of school textbooks in the current academic session, Chaudhary blamed the previous SAD-BJP government. “Textbook printing work was not complete in time last year. We will have the textbooks ready by February 28 this year and deliver them to children before the start of the new academic session,” she said.

First Published: Jan 03, 2018 09:49 IST