The government's decision to make English the medium of instruction from primary to secondary school drew criticism from a variety of quarters, including government teachers and educationists.
They claim that there are 21,000 teacher posts vacant. This being the situation, how can the quality of education be improved. Secondly, they are opposed to the very concept that education through the English medium provides excellence in education. The State Government should have first focused attention on improving the infrastructural facilities and then thought of going in for any change in the education system and that too after discussing with all the stake-holders.
They also wonder how Mana Ooru-Mana Badi programme brings a complete make-over. Schools in Telangana lack even sanitation staff in schools. The State Government should give priority in appointing teaching and non-teaching staff, then only it could think of introducing English medium in schools. Another problem is training the existing Telugu medium teachers in English. Majority of them are those who have put in over 20 years of service. It is very difficult to upgrade their teaching skills in English to meet the requirements of English medium schools. Even the phonetics of words like 'Tomato' in English and Telugu are different. In Telugu it is pronounced as 'Tamato, Tamata' and so on.
They said if the Government's perception was that only the English medium can bring excellence in education, then countries like Japan, China and Korea should not have progressed at all. There the schools impart education only in their mother tongue. Sharada, headmistress of government girls' high school, Masab Tank, told The Hans India that there are many issues which the Government should focus on first. "In primary section, there is always a demand for one teacher for one class but in 90 per cent of the schools it is not ensured. Another main challenge would be training Urdu medium and Telugu medium teachers to teach in English," she said.
"Many government schools do not have sufficient classrooms, libraries, labs, proper washrooms and water facilities. These changes cannot be brought overnight and it is highly impossible to make the schools ready even under the Mana Ooru Mana Badi program by the time the new academic year starts, the teachers feel. First, the government should improve infrastructure facilities and appoint qualified and properly trained teachers to teach in English medium," said Ranjith Kumar, a government school teacher. Similar views were also expressed by Jeevan Prakash, headmaster of Government High School.
(This is a slightly modified version of an article originally published in The Hans India. The original article can be found at https://www.thehansindia.com/news/cities/hyderabad/teaching-in-english-difficult-for-teachers-now-725145)