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English Language Or The Problem Of Government Schools In Odisha

Talking about schools and admissions, we come across various content on social media around people complaining why everyone is interested in enrolling their children in private English medium schools rather than government-aided schools. This issue, I think, is something to be considered.

Two girls walking to school
Credits: Hridayam 2020 | Flickr

I would like to note that English is not a medium to show your standard but an issue in this contemporary world. I belong to the Keonjhar district in Odisha. I am a tutor by profession and have taught various tutorials in my district. Once I was conducting classes for students of class 10 following the state syllabus (Odia medium). Students have English as a compulsory subject in their syllabus.

I usually like to have some conversations with my students after class. I was shocked to learn that most of them face difficulties in English even though it is taught to them from their primary classes. A question arose in my mind. Why?

Then I started looking for students who belong to the state board and asked the same question, and every time the results were the same. They have the least knowledge of the English language.

Some may think these to be rubbish as most of their syllabus are in their native language (Odia) then; what is the problem with it? The problem is that after they complete their schooling, they get admission to colleges where every subject, whatever the stream, could be taught in English. This makes it difficult for them to cope with. But nobody talks about it. They let the problem unseen.

Just for a reference, I took a look at the selection process of teachers in these government schools. In Odisha, if one wants to be a teacher in government schools, they must have a B.Ed degree, must be qualified in OTET (examination) in the particular subject of their choice and Odia (language) knowledge is a must. So I thought it is right that one should have the required qualification and the person has it and must be knowledgeable. So then why students are unable to receive the right knowledge from the grass root?

People from weaker economic backgrounds also have dreams for their children. They send their children to government schools because they can’t afford the fees of private schools.

Why is the government not taking any steps to improve the schools? Why are they silent? Why are the majority of people not raising their voices against it? Are government schools only for free mid-day meals?

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