HC issues notice to TN govt over spoken English in govt schools

Chennai: The Madras High Court yesterday issued notice to the Tamilnadu government on a contempt petition filed by a former DMK MLA for failure to implement a court direction on his plea to introduce spoken English in government schools across the State.

When the contempt petition by Appavu came up, a division bench of Justices Vineet Kothari and C V Karthikeyan issued notice to the Secretary of the School Education department, Pradeep Yadav, returnable by 4 September.

Passing orders on the petition on 5 January, the bench had directed the Secretary of School Education department to decide on the representation made by the petitioner after giving due opportunity of hearing within eight weeks.

Originally, the petitioner had filed a PIL seeking a direction to the State government to introduce Spoken English in government schools in Tamilnadu as a compulsory subject. The petitioner submitted that there are about 37,211 government schools, 8,403 government aided schools and 12,419 private self-financing schools such as matriculation and CBSE schools in Tamilnadu imparting education to about 1.25 crore students.

In 12,419 private schools alone, about 40 lakh students were studying. The state government was spending Rs 27,000 crore annually on education, he added. He further submitted that though English was taught as a second language from Class 2 to 12 in Tamil medium government aided and un-aided schools, students even after successfully completing class twelve were unable to converse or understand if spoken to in English.

Students who pursue school education in English medium institutions found it very easy to understand, communicate and mingle with other students as well as with faculty, he claimed. The petitioner pointed out that Tamil medium students could not fare well in professional courses because of lack of communication skills, more particularly in spoken English.

This inability continues even in work places, he said. He stressed the need to place emphasis on compulsorily introducing Spoken English as a compulsory subject from Class 2 to 12 in all Tamil medium government, aided and un-aided schools.