Mumbai: Less than a year after the state government rolled out 'integrated' bilingual textbooks to familiarise Marathi and Urdu medium students with English, it will withdraw the books.
According to a government resolution (GR) issued on Monday, the decision was taken after teachers and educationists found that these books, which were provided to class 1 and 2 students in select schools, were hampering the students' ability to learn the vernacular languages. They also realised that the books were proving to be a hindrance in educating children in their mother tongue, especially for subjects like Marathi, English, and Mathematics.
The integrated books were first introduced by the former School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad last year as a means to teach students English vocabulary, grammar and syntax while reducing the weight of school bags. These books displayed the equivalent English text alongside the vernacular terms, and had components of different subjects including English, Marathi, Maths and activity-based learning.
The texts were provided to class 1 students at all government-run schools and class 2 students at 488 'model' schools on an experimental basis in the academic year 2022-23.
The state also doesn't find the books useful as they have been prepared according to an older curriculum, whose learning outcome levels are lower than the ones prescribed under the Education Ministry's Nipun Bharat initiative. As part of the initiative, the Centre aims to attain foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools of the country by 2025 - a target set by the National Education Policy 2020. The state government has now instructed the state textbook publisher Balbharti to replace these books as soon as it comes out with texts based on the revised curriculum.
Educationists have welcomed the change, as they believe that despite the claims the books had a faulty approach. "Exposing and teaching multiple languages to students during their early years is desirable, but there was no systematic for it. There were just some English words randomly inserted into textbooks, which was a hindrance in the learning process. The bilingual or multilingual teaching is more about teachers gradually exposing students to English," said Vasant Kalpande, former state Director of Education.
Basanti Roy, former secretary of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Mumbai Division, also said that the books failed to encapsulate the idea behind integrated teaching. "Integrated teaching is about presenting a holistic picture to students. It involves teaching about a particular topic through the lens of various disciplines and subjects. There was nothing integrated about these textbooks."
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