Back to school: Teaching in English for grade one students from next week

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) intended agenda of introducing a uniform curriculum and education system in all schools of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) will take practical shape from Tuesday, April 8 when the new academic year begins.

Upon their return from spring holidays, grade one students of government schools will be welcomed by a new medium of instruction, i.e. English. Textbooks on General Knowledge and Mathematics have already been printed in English.

The PTI-led coalition government intends to extend the change in language to grade 10 with the passage of each academic year.

After coming into power last year, the PTI announced an education emergency in the province and in September held an extensive enrolment drive to increase the literacy rate in K-P. Around 142,140 children were enrolled in government schools.

Apart from the enrolment drive, the provincial government also announced it would be changing the medium of instruction in public schools from the first grade, which would then be extended to other grades over time.

The most recent annual budget also saw a 30% increase in funds allotted to the education department, giving K-P the means to change the medium of instruction for grade one.

In January, Minister for Education Muhammad Atif Khan told The Express Tribune that books had been printed and the government was almost prepared “to bring the mega change to our curriculum”.

“The government has also prepared a ‘master trainer programme’ in which 360 teachers from across the province will be trained in the first phase. The 360 master trainers will further train 23,000 teachers in due time,” said Khan.

Now, the change will come into effect once schools start next week.

Although for teachers, initially, the new medium will be difficult, the government seems to be on the right track with its training sessions to equip them to meet the challenge head-on.

According to teachers, if the syllabus had been changed across all grades at once, teaching it would have become virtually impossible for them.

The policy of revising it gradually is helpful as it enables them to learn alongside their students.

Jamil Hussain, a teacher at Government Primary School Sherkera (I), who recently participated in one such training session, said since the change was new to both teachers and students it could have been a difficult transition but the training made him comfortable with the new syllabus.

“The training has given me the confidence to talk to my students in English.

The response of students would further strengthen my confidence. Learning in English would be beneficial for them,” said Hussain.

Source: The Express Tribune