COIMBATORE: In a lot of cases in the State, mastering English is of utmost importance for a person to come up in life.
Ask any parent in Tamil Nadu, in which medium would they want their child to study and the answer would be unanimous- in English.
Understanding the high demand for education in English-medium, and to increase student enrolment in government schools, the government introduced English-medium in 100 schools across the State.
Expectation vs reality
What the government and parents did not take into consideration was how students will cope up with the move. "Not according to expectations" would be the answer.
Sources state that middle school headmasters in the district have written to the District Educational Officer (DEO) stating that they are going to transfer students from English-medium to Tamil-medium in the next academic year as students are finding it difficult to grasp the language.
A school teacher from Karamadai block said, "The School Education Department implemented its new syllabus for classes II, III, IV, V, VII, VIII, X and XII this year.
Students of classes VII and VIII, for example, are finding it tough to ace subjects such as science and social science as they are weak in English. Teachers have tried various teaching methods, but none of them seems to work."
"The result is that many students fail in subjects like English, science and social science in the quarterly examination, while their Tamil-medium counterparts passed with ease.
The situation is similar in many schools and headmasters have informed the district education officials about the matter.
Five headmasters in the district even wrote to their senior officials requesting that they allow the transfer of students from English-medium to Tamil-medium," he said.
Tamil Nadu Elementary School Teacher Federation (TNESTF) District Secretary C Arasu seems to have a valid reason as to why the issue exists at all.
"Most of government school students study in Tamil-medium up to class V and then shift to English-medium from then on.
As a result, they struggle to understand lessons. Those who are not interested in learning English even drop out.
Even teachers have to resort to using the dictionary to explain to students what certain words mean. This is why many headmasters are planning to transfer students back to Tamil medium," Arasu said.
What do students say?
Students from Thondamuthur block said they find it difficult to understand lessons in English and added that concepts have to be explained in Tamil for them to understand.
"As was the case in class VI, I still find it difficult to understand my lessons," said a class VII student.
Another student stated that many in her class failed in social science in the quarterly examination.
Parents are not well versed in English to help their children either. "My son told me that subjects are too difficult to understand. But, I cannot afford to send him to tuition," said a parent who sells vegetables for a living.
When contacted, a DEO said, during this academic year, one middle school changed its students from English-medium to Tamil-medium.
A few headmasters have also requested that they be allowed to do the same.
We have instructed headmasters not to make any changes this year. The problem has been taken to the knowledge of senior officials."