Proposal by a special panel says it will be introduced in Nov 2013
The state government has decided to introduce English as a compuslory subject in the second semester of Class III from 2013-14 academic session. At present, English is taught as a compulsory subject only from Class V.
The latest decision has been taken as per recommendations of a committee specially formed to frame guidelines for teaching languages like English, Sanskrit, Hindi and Gujarati being taught in government schools.
The panel has been carrying out deliberations with Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT) for the last two years.
“English curriculum for Class III onwards has already been drafted and finalised. There will be no textbook for students in Class III but only a teacher’s edition. In the first two years, focus will be on how to build confidence among students and to increase their comfort level with the language. Thus, stress will be more on listening than writing,” said Haresh Chaudhary, project co-ordinator at GCERT who has worked on the project.
Subir Shukla, one of the members of the committee, said the suggestion of introducing English in second half of Class III was made after considering the age of children. “By this age, they are quite old to be well conversant with their mother tongue and reasonably young to learn a foreign language,” he said, adding that English was chosen for special emphasis since overall exposure to this language in Gujarat was very low.
Meanwhile, state officials were tightlipped about the proposal. “Things are being worked out on this front,” Principal Secretary (Primary Education) Sangeeta Singh said, while refusing to elaborate.
An English journey in Gujarat
After Gujarat came into being in 1960, the state government decided to teach English as a compulsory subject from VIII to X. However, schools had freedom to teach English in Classes V to VII outside school hours, for which they were not financially supported by the government.
In 2001, English was made a compulsory subject from Class V onwards by the then Education Minister Anandiben Patel.
In 2002-03, shortly after Narendra Modi took over as the CM, a proposal was mooted to introduce English as a mandatory subject in Class I, but it had to be shelved reportedly due to opposition from right-wing outfits.