The first picure is one of the best products from the Malayalam medum division and the second one is the best product of the English medium division. What qualitative diffrence do you find between them?
We analyzed the written work done by the children both in the English and Malayalam medium divisions. Children following the State syllabus had no inhibition in writing their ideas in English. All of them had written something. Some of these writings were better than what the children in the English medium divisions wrote.
We found that children in IV B had performed better than those in IV C. The reason was obvious. The teacher in class IV B (a gentle man) had done some justice to the classroom processes whereas the teacher in Class IV C had ignored the classroom processes altogether and had taught in a manner that was convenient to him.
Interaction with the Staff
In the evening we got an opportunity to interact with the teachers of the school. The Head teacher told us that the teachers were willing to stay after the school hours. We consider this as an indicator for their concern for school matters.
We assembled in the conference hall. We were happy to share with them the good things we had observed. At the same time we expressed our anxiety about the children in the English medium division. We showed them what the learners had written about their morning assembly. It appeared that they were shocked.
‘We opened the English medium division a few years ago because of the insistence from the part of the PTA,’ said the Head teacher.
‘Don’t you think this is really unfortunate?’ I asked the teachers. ‘The children in class IV A have nearly four years of experience of learning English because they started it in the pre-primary classes.’
‘Do you discuss academic matters in the school SRG meetings?’ asked Kaladharan.
They explained the practical difficulty. Some amount of sharing takes place among the teachers handling the Malayalam medium divisions. But this does not take place with the teachers handling the English medium divisions.
‘What do you infer from the written work of the children? The children following the State syllabus and textbook were able to express their ideas in whatever English they were able to learn. This was possible because they were experiencing a process-bound learning programme. The NCERT textbook does not demand this.’
We felt the presence of an unpleasant silence spreading in the room.
‘We are sorry to tell you about this,’ said Kaladharan. We will not ask you to convene a PTA meeting and propose the immediate closure of the English medium divisions. It will not look nice. You may continue to retain the parallel divisions in English. But at the same time you will have to ensure that all children irrespective of their medium of learning should get quality education.’
‘All what you can do is strengthen the classroom process in the mother tongue medium divisions. If you can show the parents that children in classes 1 to 4 can read and write in English and above all, speak the language, the parents will be convinced. They will demand that their children should be taught in the mother tongue.