English instruction is OK, but public schools need more

2014-04-05

Himalayan News Service

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Educational experts have said that the government’s policy to revamp management of public schools and boost their academic standards with focus on teaching and learning in English medium was positive.

They, however, also suggested that the government should bring a new policy to improve the quality of public school system and its teachers initiating the change in the medium of instruction.

Talking to The Rising Nepal, joint secretary Lekh Nath Poudel of the Education Ministry said that the Education Act had provided rights to the public schools to start teaching and learning in the English medium.

The ministry was also encouraging the public schools to go for English medium instruction to enhance their competitive edge with private schools, he added.

"The public schools have the right adopt English as their medium of instruction, but they need to develop their capabilities for this. They also have the right to choose the Nepali medium," he said.

He said that the ministry brought a new act to improve the quality of public schools but no assistance was forthcoming for them to switch on to English medium teaching and learning.

According to the ministry, more then one dozen public schools of the valley started instruction in the English medium. Similarly, one dozen out of valley public schools also started English medium instruction.

Nepal Parents Association Chairman Shuprabhat Bhandari said that the English medium would promote quality education in the nation but this alone would not suffice in boosting the overall performance of the public schools.

He said that discriminatory education systems in the private and public sectors produced big gaps.

"The private schools have two years’ foundational courses for children before they begin studies in class one. On the other hand, public schools start imparting education from class one and there is no any foundational course prior to that," he said.

He said that the government and, especially MoE, should bring a new policy for public schools, including foundation classes to end the discriminative education systems.

"The medium is not a single problem of school level education. The problems start from the basic level. The private schools have 14 years of educational programs (including two years for foundation and the plus two) while the public schools have 12 academic years. So, school education will not be qualitative without ending the discriminative education system," he said.

Bhandari said that the English medium would help reform the education system but this alone would make the schools competitive.

National Private and Boarding Schools Association of Nepal (NPABSON) general secretary Ritu Sapkota said that the government should analyze the public demands to start English medium teaching and learning.

He said that the governments should provide assistance to the public schools which started the English medium instruction. He suggested the government would rather do well to study international practices before implementing the policy.

Sapkota said that the government should identify the problems of urban-based public schools and rural-based public schools before starting the English medium teaching and learning.

He said, "The private sector is ready to support the government to implement the English medium teaching-learning project. The government should introduce two years of foundation (pre-primary) courses in public schools to build their capacities for English medium learning. "

Educational expert Surendra Koirala said that the government policy to transform public schools into English medium was positive. He, however, suggested that the MoE should promote English medium teaching-learning in rural areas and out of valley.

He said that the ministry would need to assess the quality of teachers involved in public schools and take further steps to ensure they deliver

(Source: The Rising Nepal)