Friday, September 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


What ails English teaching in govt schools

Apropos of Mr Jangveer Singh’s article “English yet to entrench itself in govt. schools” (Aug. 28), I appreciate the writer for having put the record straight. Quoting figures, he rightly said that though government schools have introduced English, they still remain deficient insofar as the teaching by trained English teachers is concerned.

The Punjab government’s decision to introduce English from the very beginning, or even from Standard III as at present, is in tune with the process of globalisation. With this one step, the gap between the rural and the urban students can be bridged to a large extent. But good intentions are no substitute for effective implementation. The million-dollar question is: how will the government implement its decision? It must do some homework too. Taking a decision today and reversing it tomorrow should be an aberration, not a policy.

There has to be a special cadre of English teachers in schools. This demand should rightly come from the villagers themselves. The village schools are ill-equipped for the teaching of English. The rural people, who often tend to hate English, and run away from it, actually hate the language because it is taught by people who themselves are strangers to it.



Time has come when things have to be viewed in a broad perspective. Too much time has been wasted on discussing the foreign language versus mother tongue issue. The writing on the wall is very clear. Mother tongue without English cannot take us far. If the reverse were true, the wards of the people who advocate the mother tongue syndrome would not be studying in public schools. We should give up all inhibitions and prejudices about English. Appoint good teachers to help villagers come out of their isolation and become a part of the mainstream.

Dr J.S. ANAND, Senior Lecturer (English), DAV College, Bathinda


Admittedly, justice cannot be done either to English or to the students if it is taught by teachers who themselves don’t know the language. Such half-hearted efforts tend to cause further alienation of the students from English.

English is a global language. It is complementary, and not contradictory, to the mother tongue. Now, we have realised its relevance and introduced it in our schools. The right step for the Punjab government now is to appoint English teachers in the schools, as we have teachers to teach Punjabi and Hindi. In the absence of trained and meritorious teachers, learning this language is difficult.

GURWANT SINGH, Chhapianwali (Malout)

Teacher’s Day

Today is Teacher's Day. Awards are conferred upon a few teachers this day every year. The then Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, had generously announced last year some incentives to the award winners who had retired from service. These include, among other things, free travel by government buses, free supply of government publications and inviting them as guests on all state and district functions.

However, with the exit of the Dhumal government, there is confusion among the teachers about the fate of these decisions. The teaching community is eagerly looking forward to their implementation by the present government. This will not be a heavy burden on the exchequer as the number of retired award winning teachers is not so big. This noble gesture of the present Chief Minister will provide inspiration to the serving teachers of Himachal Pradesh who are trying to surpass Kerala in the field of education.

A.N. SHARMA, Dharamsala


Neglected bridge

Many letters have appeared on the deplorable condition of the bridge on Sukhna Choe connecting Zirakpur with Himachal Pradesh. The importance of this bridge need not be reiterated. But I am extremely sorry to point out that Captain Amarinder Singh, even after 18 months since he took over as the Chief Minister of Punjab, has shown no concern for improving the bridge.

The Chief Minister perhaps does not know that this bridge stands dedicated to the memory of his father, the late Maharaja Yadvindara Singh.

H.S. SARWARA, Panchkula

Irreparable loss

PEC professor dies in car accident” (Aug 28) is, indeed, an extremely sad news. The sudden demise of Dr Rama Shankar Prasad (57) is a tragic loss to the teaching fraternity in general and the student community in particular.

He was a rare man cast in the mould of India’s great socio-cultural tradition: exceptionally competent, selfless, hard working, and a passionately committed professional. His continuing concern for the welfare and career prospects of his students was most compassionate and farsighted. He fought single-handedly wherever and whenever he perceived injustice to his wards and always succeeded in getting them their fair due. The void created by his death may never be filled.

Dr S.S. BHATTI, Ex-Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, Chandigarh


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