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Karnataka Govt Expands Schools Due to Rising English Medium Demand

Madhu Bangarappa, Karnataka’s Minister for School Education and Literacy, said the Legislative Assembly on Thursday that the government plans to provide English as a language of instruction in more state-run schools in response to increased demand and to increase enrollments.

The minister said there is a huge demand for English medium schools in the state and, in the next three years, the government wants to open 500 more Karnataka Public Schools (KPS), that also offer English medium of instruction, in addition to Kannada. Bangarappa was responding to Tirthahalli BJP MLA Araga Jnanendra who said government schools are being closed because parents want their kids to get English medium education. “There is a huge demand for English mediums. As the government, we have a responsibility to take steps by also giving priority to Kannada…(but) parents themselves want an English medium for their children,” Bangarappa said.

Studies by the school education department on why an increasing number of children were quitting government schools mainly cited the lack of English medium education along with factors like inadequate infrastructure, he said. “The solution is to offer both mediums in government schools so that parents can choose. Our intent is to provide both mediums.” English as the medium of instruction is being offered in about 300 KPS, he told the house. “The government’s target is to have one KPS for every two gram panchayats. Parents are willing to pay for English education, and the same can happen in government English medium schools with the help of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding. There is good response and small level investments,” he added. In the next three years, the government wants to open 500 more KPS, Bangarappa said. “It can’t be done overnight because it requires creating infrastructure and teachers who can teach in English. Also there are certain guidelines for the recruitment process.”

Further stating that his department wants to bring back kids who have quit government schools, the minister said, “We want to create a system in which both mediums of instruction are run on the same premises. “But, if the number of Kannada-medium students becomes less, it will send out a different message. That should not happen… Also, in several schools, there are only five students. We need to handle that carefully,” he added.

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Source: HT

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