In 1,419 Karnataka gov't schools, bilingual education to begin soon

The Congress government, too, had promoted bilingual schools in its budget and set a target of 2,000 schools for this academic year; however, that could not be met
Students in a school classroom. Image for representational purposes only
Students in a school classroom. Image for representational purposes only(Pic:Express)

Taking note of the poor performance of Kannada and other language medium schools in Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exams, and their dwindling numbers in the state, the Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL) recently passed an order to start bilingual education — in English and Kannada.

The department had invited applications for beginning bilingual classes from schools and received 1,800 applications, of which, 1,419 government schools have been given the nod post scrutiny under certain criteria, stated a report by The New Indian Express.

The Congress government, too, had promoted bilingual schools in its budget and set a target of 2,000 schools for this academic year; however, that could not be met.

The highest number of government schools allowed to teach in the English language is in Kalyan Karnataka (Kalaburagi division) region, with 872 schools in seven districts, followed by Bengaluru division with 297 schools, Mysuru division with 140 schools and Dharwad division with 110 schools.

The academic year 2024-25 began on May 29; however, the order was passed only on June 15. Officials cited the model code of conduct for the delay.

Proposals and approvals

Education Commissioner BB Cauvery told The New Indian Express, “The academic year has just commenced and there is time till the end of the month for new admissions. Despite the official order delay, all schools are ready for these classes, as the proposals came from their side and we have approved only those that have the necessary infrastructure.” She added that in terms of teachers, guest lecturers will be given priority in bilingual schools.

On the high number of approvals for the Kalyan Karnataka region, the commissioner said the Akshara Avishkara scheme that aims to improve the performance of primary and high schools in the region, pushed more schools to meet the criteria.

“Also, the ratio of students enrolling in government schools in this region is high, prompting conducive intervention from the state government,” she said.

Earlier, the department had directed the Regional Institute of English, South India, and Department of State Educational Research and Training to prepare an action plan for teacher training.

A detailed report on the introduction of English medium classes in government primary schools was sought. Since 2019-20, there are 2,404 bilingual schools in the state.

Officials in the department, on assurance of anonymity, also said that parents are keen to enroll their children in bilingual schools, which has increased the ratio.

“At the field level, we are seeing increased interest in parents wanting their children to learn English from a young age. The department received many proposals but was rejected because of lack of infrastructure,” the official said.

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