Language Barrier, WB CM Stress For Teaching English


Kolkata: Ninety-two per cent of students in the state pass out from Bengali-medium schools, where the Government’s language writ runs.

But they have been steadily edged out of all-India competitive examinations by students who have done the ICSE or the CBSE courses.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that her government will give stress to teaching English in Schools as generations of students were affected for not teaching the language properly in the state-run schools.

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Ignoring literature and grammar has spawned a generation of youngsters who cannot follow technical textbooks written in English. The disastrous switchover in school curricula in the 1980s – stressing on “functional and communicative” aspects of English but with few competent teachers .

Without mentioning the name of Left Front government,which had stopped the teaching of English in state-run schools till class VI in 1983, Banerjee said “ There were several years when generation after generation were not allowed to learn English language. I want English to be taught (in schools). We want that english should be taught, we will back it.”

‘’They (students) will also learn Bengali as well as English. They may learn other languages if they want to.’’she said at a Teachers’ Day programme hosted by the education department.

“They can learn Gorkha, Nepali, Ol Chiki, Maithili or whatever they feel because language is one’s prerogative. But because a student is staying in West Bengal, he/she must know the regional language,” she said.

“We will give importance to mother tongues where it is required. Where needed we will give importance to English, and where we need to give importance to Hindi. We will also give importance to Gurmukhi language because of our Sikh brothers and sisters,” Banerjee said.

This year the state government had announced that Bengali would be made mandatory for students, including those affiliated to ICSE and CBSE in West Bengal.

Reported By: Priyanka Dutta