Students enrolled in government-run English medium primary schools say they do not want to switch over to Hindi as a medium when they begin lessons in upper primary school after finishing Class 5. Their demand to convert some of the upper primary schools from Hindi to English medium is growing louder with every passing day.
Kajal Kumari, a student of English medium primary school Gejha in Gautam Buddh Nagar said, “Switching back to Hindi will not be easy. I request the authorities to please do something so that we may continue to study in English after passing Class 5. It is through a lot of hard work that we developed a comfort level in studying in English. Now, if we go back to learning lessons in Hindi, it will undo whatever we learnt over the past few years.”
In 2015, the basic education department had converted a few primary schools of Uttar Pradesh into English medium institutions. The primary school Gejha in Gautam Buddh Nagar was also made English medium at this time. It has 434 students enrolled in it and most of them do not wish to switch over to a Hindi medium school.
Officials said that after seeing the craze for English-medium schools growing in the state, the BJP government decided to convert 5,000 primary schools to English-medium ones from the April 2018 session. At present, 4,97,108 students are studying in these government-run primary schools.
“In Lucknow alone, there are 44 such schools where more than 6,200 students are enrolled,” said Amar Kant Singh, Basic Shiksha Adhikari, Lucknow.
Hariyali Srivastava, assistant teacher at primary school Gejha, said the problem was that most students coming to government-run primary schools hailed from humble backgrounds. “Their parents can’t afford to send them to private English medium schools in Class 6, as the fee is very high,” she said.
Corroborating what the teacher said, Kajal added, “I want to study only in a government-run English medium school because my father (an e-rickshaw driver) can’t afford to pay the fees charged by private English medium schools.”
Zainab Khatoon, another Class 5 girl of the same school, said that she wanted the state government to intervene in the matter.
Making an appeal to senior officials in the basic education department, Srivastava said, “The students have learnt all terminology in English. Now, they will have to study in Hindi medium upper primary schools, which will be very difficult for them. Our students are asking for help. They want schools to be made English medium till Class 10.”
Chhavi Agarwal, assistant teacher of another primary school, said she teaches 280 students. “Similar requests are pouring in from my students too.”
Lucknow BSA Amar Kant Singh agreed with the teachers and said that the demand for English medium schools after Class 5 was “quite natural”. “After studying in English medium institutions, students will not like to go back to Hindi medium schools,” he said.
A senior basic education department official added that they were aware of the growing demand for government-run English medium schools and were looking into the matter.