LAHORE: Admissions in public primary schools increased by 300 per cent since last year after the government announced its decision to impose English as the medium of education.
Steps to revolutionise primary education in the province were mostly well received but parents complained that it also meant that some of their children were rejected by the new English-medium schools. They complained that the policy was excluding the ‘weaker’ students.
A 45 year old domestic helper named Naseema stated that her youngest daughter had been promoted to second grade but her older daughter was not given admission after she failed to clear the admission test. She said that her daughter had been studying under the Urdu-medium system for so long that it was only natural that she would not meet the new curriculum requirements.
Naseema added that it was unfair that weaker children were not being offered the opportunity to learn under the new academic standards and were not being offered any other alternative. “If the children are not schooled in English-medium classrooms then they can not be expected to pass the entry test,” she maintained.
Education district officer (EDO) Dr Muhammad Arshad said that all students who had maintained a grade point average of 50 per cent in grade four and five would be admitted to the English classes. He said that the education ministry had issued notices to all primary school headmasters with this instruction. He disclosed to The Express Tribune that 800 teachers may be forcibly retired given their inability to teach in English.
He added that the provincial government was planning to hire teachers capable of imparting quality education under the new curriculum.
He added that the transition to an English-medium system would be made gradually as children in senior primary classes needed some time to wean from the old system. He said that the teachers had been instructed to teach grade 4 and 5 students bilingually until they develop an ear for English.
The provincial education ministry expressed its intention to make the complete switch across all the districts of Punjab by 2012.