Govt to open 48 English-medium upper primary schools in state

AThe Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation was the first to open an English-medium school for primary students. EXPRESS PHOTO

The state education department plans to start 48 upper primary English-medium schools for students of Class VI-VIII from the academic session 2013-14 scheduled to begin in June.

Of these, 18 schools will be in tribal areas.

Principal Secretary (Education) Hasmukh Adhia said, "It is a fact of life that even lower-middle class is aspiring for English-medium education though they cannot afford it. Thus, we wanted to see if we can fill this void by providing English-medium government schools."

Asked why not English-medium primary schools, he said, "The philosophy the education department follows is that for the first five years, a child should study in his mother tongue. Not only his concepts are clear, but he also learns better in these initial years."

While Surat district will have five English-medium upper primary schools, other major districts of Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Vadodara will have four each. The remaining 22 districts, including 18 tribal areas, will get one each. Location for a few other schools is being finalised.

The requisitions were submitted and approved during the three-day training session for all the District Primary Officers (DPO) held at IIM-A on April 22-24.

"Demand estimates for English-medium schools were sought from each district. We submitted a proposal of seven schools, one each for seven city zones. However, five schools have been allocated for the city," Surat municipal school board chairman Atul Patel said.

"Students will certainly come from English-medium private schools to these affordable schools. No transfer of students from Gujarati or any other medium to these English-medium schools will be allowed," Patel said.

However, L D Desai, the administrative officer of Ahmedabad municipal school board, said these schools would be open for both new admissions as well as those seeking transfer from schools that have no English medium of instruction. He said the curriculum was still in the process of being finalised but it would be on the lines of English-medium private schools.

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