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POOR ENROLMENT - Cantt board English schools get a thumbs down from residents

PUBLISH DATE 15th May 2017

The Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) officials may consider shifting students to form separate dedicated English and Marathi medium schools after enrolments for English language education fell short of expectations.

English was introduced as a medium of instruction at the primary level from the 2016-17 session after a resolution to that effect was passed in July 2015 at the general body meeting.

It trained headmastersmistresses of the five primary schools that the PCB runs, and also recruited more teachers who could teach in English. A review has not thrown up the expected results. Top officials had hoped for enrolments in the English medium to outstrip that of the Marathi medium classes, but data shows that the target has not been met in most cases, and has marginally more students than the ones studying in Marathi in the remaining schools.

At Dr Ambedkar Memorial Primary School off Solapur Bazaar, only eight students enrolled for the English medium classes at the nursery level, compared to 23 for the Marathi classes. At the Swami Vivekanand school in Ghorpadi, only 15 more students enrolled for English classes than Marathi ones.

Even so, the PCB has plans to restart the Savarkar School in Bhimpura area as an English medium school, more than a decade after it was shut down, and has also cleared the recruitment of quite a number of teachers.

“Students and their parents are still reluctant in the case of education in English, because it is perceived to be difficult to deal with. We introduced English at entry level so that they can be competitive in later life,“ a senior PCB official said.

Board officials say they are now trying to integrate students of the English and Marathi mediums in dedicated schools, so as to “manage“ resources better, but added that they are still “committed“ to expanding English as a medium of instruction.

“We have planned to shift students who have opted for English at Shaheed Bhagat Singh school to the Swami Vivekanand School, so that the former can run as a fully Marathi medium school, and the latter will have classes in both languages. But we are also interested in expanding in English-medium education, as that is necessary for students. We have forwarded the proposal to reopen the Savarkar School as an English-medium school to the military authorities. If the approval comes through, we will move forward,“ the PCB official added.