The Andhra Pradesh government's decision to introduce English as the medium of instruction in all government schools has triggered a controversy with a section of academicians and teachers opposing the move.
The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government in Andhra Pradesh has announced converting all government, Mandal Praja Parishad (MPP) and Zilla Parishad (ZP) schools into English medium schools.
According to an order issued by the School Education Department, English will be the medium of instruction from first to eighth standard from the academic year 2020-21. For class IX and X, English will be the medium of instruction from 2021-22.
However, Telugu or Urdu will be a compulsory subject in all the schools. The government's decision has evoked criticism from a section of academicians and teachers.
Katti Narasimha Reddy, a member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council, found fault with the move, saying that it went against the recommendation of the Kasturi Rangan Committee that teaching should be in mother tongue, at least in primary classes.
The legislator from teachers' constituency said that converting all government schools into English medium schools was also deviation from the proposed national education policy.
The YSRCP government has came under criticism for introducing English as the medium of instruction without doing the necessary ground work.
Teachers of government-run Telugu and Urdu medium schools opposed the move, saying they lacked the necessary skills to teach in English.
"As the new academic year starts in June, we have just eight months in hand which is not sufficient to prepare ourselves for the new task," said a teacher in Vijayawada.
Meanwhile, the United Teachers' Federation (UTF) condemned the government order and demanded that Telugu medium schools should continue.
UTF state President Sheikh Saabji said that scrapping Telugu as the medium of instruction in all government schools is not a proper decision.
"How can the government remove Telugu as the medium of instruction in a Telugu speaking state and replace it with English," asked UTF General Secretary Babu Reddy.
The teachers' body feared that introduction of English as the medium of instruction will hit the education of students, especially those coming from the weaker sections of the society, and increase the dropout rate.