Haryana Government has kick-started a new and unique initiative aimed at enabling students to read, write and speak in English right from class 1. Under the programme, touted as ‘I am not afraid of English’, one Junior Basic Training teacher and a Block Resource Person per block have been trained and tasked to make students learn one sentence every day. The entire exercise aims to inculcate minimum 20 sentences per month for 10 months in each class.
With this Haryana has become the only state in the country to launch such an initiative. English has become crucial in an individual’s academic and professional career but developing good communication skills in English is challenging. The bigger challenge is making English learning a pleasure. Those who read for pleasure are autonomous language learners. For such people, language learning becomes an enjoyable experience, as they immerse themselves in reading and by default learn it by heart. This kind of reading may well be much more powerful as the pleasure component allows absorption of language without any anxiety, block, and fear of understanding.
Rajnarayan Kaushik, Director, Elementary Education told that children studying in government primary schools can take benefit of the programme ‘’I am not afraid of English’’ initiative which is aimed at introducing English right from Class 1. “It will enable teachers to help students read, write and speak English”.
The initiative has already been launched in 180 primary schools and will be introduced in 238 more in the current academic session, according to Rajnarayan Kaushik, Director, Elementary Education.
An NCERT booklet with 1,000 sentences and phrases has been prepared. It carries 200 sentences for each grade — from grade I to V. A primary teacher and one Block Resource Person has been trained to make students learn one sentence every day (minimum 20 per month for 10 months). In this way, students will be able to read and write at least 1,000 sentences until they graduate to the next level.”
Further, six language labs have been established in selected Model Sanskriti Schools across the state to facilitate digital learning and improve the listening and speaking skills of students. More such labs will be set up later in other schools. The 180 primary schools where the initiative, in partnership with NGO ‘Humana People to People India’, has been launched have been made bag-free for children in Classes I and II, who have been provided lockers. Gradually, language labs will be set up in other schools of the state also. Bag-free English Medium Schools for classes 1st and 2nd have been started in selected 180 government primary schools of the state. Also, the Secondary Education Department has introduced science and mathematics books in English from Class IX onwards in 310 selected schools.
Last year, the Uttarakhand Government too had launched a similar drive, changing the medium of instruction in 18,000 schools from Hindi to English in phases, starting with Class I.
I’m not afraid of English
This slogan and objective of the Haryana Government at once speak of the recognition of a problem as well as a possible way to redress it. The Annual Status of Education Reports — which gauge learning among children in rural areas — have over the years revealed that the students’ ability to read simple sentences in English is substandard. In 2016, only 32 per cent pupils of class III could read simple words in the language. That, generally, is the norm in all primary classes. There is thus an urgent need to tackle the handicap head on to overcome it.
This initiative is aimed at equipping children to face the world and the job market. Six language labs have been established in selected Model Sanskriti schools in the state to facilitate digital learning and improve listening and speaking skills of the students.