English medium classes back in Karnataka government schools after 25 years

Ralph Alex Arakal
Introduction of English in government-run schools in Karnataka was opposed by pro-Kannada outfits. This is believed to have delayed the decision across governments since 1994.

The long wait for the introduction of English-medium classes in government primary schools in Karnataka is finally over. As many as 947 Kannada and Urdu government schools in the state will introduce English medium classes from the upcoming academic year, 122 of them from in and around Bangalore Urban education district.

According to the Karnataka State Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Engish medium classes which will be introduced in Class 1 from 2019-’20 academic year, will then be extended to the next grade (Class 2) as the batch gets promoted in 2020-’21. The expansion is planned to be done in a phased manner.

Interestingly, the education department has asked teachers of these selected schools to visit households in the locality to promote admissions, post-election and examination-related duties. A comprehensive training programme, beginning on April 29, will train four resource persons from each of the 33 education districts in the state. Teachers will then be trained with special modules on effective English teaching thereafter.

Several campaigns, including #SaveGovtSchools, had been raising the issue repeatedly since the H.D.Kumaraswamy government took over Karnataka in 2018. However, the introduction of English in government-run schools were opposed by pro-Kannada outfits and this is believed to have delayed the decision across governments since 1994.

Prominent personalities including Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala has been vocal for the introduction of English-medium classes in government schools in the state, pointing out that it was important to implement the same to ensure better career prospects and learning abilities.

Poor enrolment figures in government schools in the state were also cited to the absence of English-medium education offered in government schools, something which their private counterparts thrived upon all these years.