ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Learning from Maharashtra’s Semi-English Government-aided Schools

The semi-English schools in Maharashtra that are aided by the government have much to teach the other states in terms of ease of English learning. These schools have ensured that the regional language and that spoken at the student’s home are not neglected whilst teaching English. However, as far as Maharashtra’s ashramshalas in tribal areas are concerned, there is a need to respect and foster the tribal languages spoken by the students.

I would like to thank Bhagyashree Meshakar, Sayali Chougale, Anish Mokashi, and Bhas Bapat for sharing their experiences, ideas and for long extended conversations. The preliminary analysis of the data has been done in collaboration with Anish Mokashi. Sandip Naik shared insights on his experiences in Madhya Pradesh.

I would also like to thank the anonymous referee for suggestions in improving the article.

Many state governments are announcing their policy towards English education, while others have selected their pathways. The ill-thought-out solutions are claimed to have been taken on behalf of the parents. The Andhra Pradesh (AP) High Court has quashed the government order converting all Telugu medium schools to English medium. The AP government and others need to reconsider and choose a middle road rather than take this to the Supreme Court. The executive should not lose the ability to consider reasonable choices of policy that are aligned to public good. The semi-English schools of Maharashtra show one such middle-of-the-road policy that could be adapted with pedagogical awareness and multilingual resources. There could be other bridges between a sensible language policy advice and practice.

Many schools in Maharashtra have practised a norm called semi-English for around three decades. These were Marathi medium schools but would introduce textbooks in English for Science and Mathematics at the middle school level. They were, initially, the aided government schools confined to urban and semi-urban areas like taluka towns. These government-aided schools are run by local trusts. After 2005, many government schools in the state have been given permission to adopt this semi-English policy. The norm has spread to rural schools today and has somewhat countered the exit from government schools.

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Updated On : 14th Sep, 2020
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