Pune Parents and Educationists Raise Concerns Over Proposal to Make English Optional in Classes 11 and 12

Pune Parents and Educationists Raise Concerns Over Proposal to Make English Optional in Classes 11 and 12

English was mandatory from classes 1 to 12. However, the draft of the new school education framework in Maharashtra, released by SCERT, is now open for suggestions from all stakeholders.

Indu BhagatUpdated: Sunday, May 26, 2024, 06:22 PM IST
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Pune Parents and Educationists Raise Concerns Over Proposal to Make English Optional in Classes 11 and 12 |

Amidst the discussion that started after the Maharashtra State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) moved a proposal to make English an optional subject for students of classes 11 and 12, Pune parents and educationists have raised their concerns.

English was mandatory from classes 1 to 12. However, the draft of the new school education framework in Maharashtra, released by SCERT, is now open for suggestions from all stakeholders.

Poonam Solaskar, mother of a child studying in class 11, said, “The proposal to not allow English as a compulsory subject will impact my ward's education quality. English is a global language, and in my opinion, it should be made a compulsory subject. The students who cannot afford private schools will not have access and command of the language, and it will create a hindrance in the future. As a parent, we are stressed over such proposals, and it should not be implemented.”

Sharad Javadekar, of Adhyapak Sabha, said, “The state government must invest in enhancing the quality of education, particularly in terms of English language instruction and overall academic standards. Keeping English as an optional subject is fine, but English should be well taught in schools till class 10. It’s a way of promoting vernacular language like Marathi because in higher education, the medium is English only. I don’t see problem with English as an optional subject; it’s just that English should be taught properly till 10.”

Proposal based on NEP

Additionally, the proposal by SCERT may also allow students to learn subjects from a mix of traditional streams of arts, science, and commerce. The SCERT released the new draft State Curriculum Framework (SCF) on May 22. The draft outlines significant departures from the current system and is based on the National Education Policy (2020).

According to the SCF, it encourages critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving by emphasizing arts, sports, business sense, and environmental studies. The SCERT has also opened a form to encourage the public to give suggestions about the new SCF. The form will be open till the third of June 2024. The draft highlights one of the new approaches it will take to teach students about the ancient Gurukul system under the module ‘Taking Pride in Indian Culture.’

Under the proposed framework, students will have to select at least one of the two languages native to India. The second can be from the other foreign language category or entirely ignore other foreign languages for a native one.

The list of native languages includes Marathi, Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Sindhi, Bengali, Punjabi, Pali, Ardhamagadhi, Maharashtri Prakrit, and Avesta-Pahlavi.

Many educationists and parents have opposed this move since the NEP came out. They claimed that it would make the education system inequitable, as those who can afford private education will learn English, and those from public education will be left behind. Parents have raised concerns that this policy could limit students' access to quality English medium education, often found in private schools. They fear that this shift may restrict educational opportunities and negatively impact their children's futures.

The draft has also proposed including the ‘Indian Knowledge System,’ such as yoga, astronomy, dancing, Kathak, Odissi, etc., as part of the formal education system.

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