Sunday, January 14, 2007


Knowledge Commission for teaching English from Class I

New Delhi, Jan. 14 (PTI): Recognising English language as a most important determinant of access to higher education, the National Knowledge Commission has proposed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh take up this issue with Chief Ministers for teaching the language from class one.

The Prime Minister should discuss this issue with the Chief Ministers at the National Development Council (NDC) to formulate a National Plan for teaching English as a language, in addition to the regional language, from Class I, it said.

In its "Report to the Nation 2006", presented to the Prime Minister, the Commission said that such a move would also ensure that at the end of 12 years of schooling, every student was proficient in at least two languages.

"School-leavers who are not adequately trained in English as a language are always at a handicap in the world of higher education," the high-profile panel, headed by Sam Pitroda, said.

Observing that there is an irony in the situation, the report said though English has been part of country's education system for more than a century, yet the language was beyond the reach of most of young people, making it highly unequal access.

"Indeed, even now, no more than one per cent of our people use it as a second language, let alone a first language," it said, adding that "time has come for us to teach our people, ordinary people, English as a language in schools".

The report said in just 12 years, it would provide the school-leavers with far more equal access to higher education and, in three to five years, thereafter, much more equal access to employment opportunities.


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