November 26, 2013
Education Commission set up by WB CM recommends equal focus on English and vernacular
The education commission appointed by the West Bengal government stressed the need for equal focus on English and vernacular languages at its first meeting on Monday.
The commission – set up in October and headed by Samir K. Brahmachari, the director-general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – will suggest a roadmap for the next two decades to make education “enjoyable and employable“.
“Our students will have to learn English. This subject is taught all over the world,“ Brahmachari said after the meeting. “But that does not mean teaching of the mother tongue should be ignored. We must give equal focus on both the vernacular and English. Every child must learn English and at the same time we must ensure that children learn to think in their mother tongue.“
The education commission wants to give emphasis on English teaching at all levels – primary, secondary, college and university – and also in vocational, madrassah and technical education.
The commission will also chalk out a language policy of the government and find out how many and which languages can be taught at various levels.
Among the other members of the panel are Father Felix Raj, principal of St. Xavier`s College; Swami Shubhakarananda of RK Mission; Vivek Kumar, higher education secretary; Amitava Bose, a former director of IIM Calcutta; Abu T. Khan, a professor at IIT Guwahati; Sanghamitra Banerjee, of Indian Statistical Institute; and Susmita Bhattacharya Chatterjee, a former principal of St. Thomas Girls` School.
Reducing the syllabus and making education “enjoyable“ for all students is another thrust area of the commission, Brahmachari said. This is in tune with chief minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee`s announcement at a Teacher`s Day programme that the burden of the syllabus should be reduced.