‘Spoken English classes are on in govt schools’

Chennai: “We are already ahead of time,” says the Directorate of School Education as the Madras High Court stressed that the State government implement spoken English classes in government schools.

Passing interim orders on a public interest litigation, a division bench of the Madras High Court, comprising justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam, impleaded the Directorate of State Council for Education Research and Training, Chennai, as a respondent to the PIL filed by former DMK MLA M Appavu.

“This court, taking note of the fact that English is a link language for communication outside of the State, as well as outside of the country, hopes and trusts the government will bestow their full attention for introduction of spoken English course to the students studying in Tamil medium in the government schools,” the bench said.

It directed the authorities to file a counter-affidavit by 6 December and also impleaded the Director of the State Council for Education, Research and Training, Chennai, as a respondent.

When ‘News Today‘ approached the School Education Department, it was found that the State-run academic body is already devising a mechanism for implementing spoken English classes.

Earlier this year, School Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan had announced that government school students across Tamilnadu in the high and higher secondary classes will undergo special workshop on English.

On 15 June, the School Education Minister announced that the government will set up mobile libraries to increase the reading habit of students.

Along with that the State School Education Department, to enrich the skills of students, will be introducing 15 new subjects. During this, the department also had said the students will attend a special workshop on English to master the language.

A top official from the DPI said, “We have already started with the English workshop from July 2018. As many as 100 professors from London visited Tamilnadu to initiate the workshop.”

When asked if that will be enough for a State having more than 9 lakh students in higher secondary and high schools alone, he said, “The workshop is structured in such a way that proactive teachers in government schools will be invited to assist these professors to conduct the initial phase of the workshop in their schools and carry it forward.”

The workshop will be conducted on a long-term basis, according to him. “It is not easy to learn the nuances of any language in a crash course. So, we have planned to stretch it over three to six months based on its effectiveness,” the official said.

So, how does it differ from the English subject in mainstream academics? “The academic English subject will be focusing on English in terms of knowledge. Basically the grammar and the language structure. But, this workshop will teach English as a skill. It will be focusing on how to put English to use, during speech and in text format,” said a top official belonging to the DPI.


Santhosh Mathevan