Asia & Australia

November 16, 2018

Madras HC advices state to introduce spoken English as compulsory subject in Tamil medium schools


A Division Bench of the Madras High Court comprising Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice P Rajamanickam advised the State government to introduce spoken English classes for students studying in the State’s Tamil medium schools.

This move comes on a PIL filed by M Appavu, former DMK legislator from Radhapuram assembly constituency and a retired school teacher, to introduce spoken English as a compulsory subject in Tamil medium government schools.

The bench said, “This court hopes and trusts the government will bestow its full attention for introduction of spoken English to students, who are studying in Tamil medium, in government schools.”

The bench, highlighting the importance of the fact that English is the link language for communication outside the State and at a global level, then impleaded the Director of State Council for Education, Research and Training and also directed the state to file a response by December 6.

Appavu in his PIL said, “There are about 37,211 government schools, 8,403 government aided and 12,419 private self-financing schools, imparting education to about 1.25 crore students. Around 40 lakh students study in 12,419 private schools. The State spends Rs 27,000 crore for education per annum.”

He further added, “Although as per the State’s education policy, English is taught as the second language from Class 2 to 12 in Tamil medium aided and unaided schools, despite having successfully completing Plus Two with high marks, a student was unable to speak or understand any communication in English. Moreover, he was also unable to converse or write fluently in English.”

“This leads to communication problems for him when he pursues professional courses or higher education that are imparted only in English”, he said.

Appavu concluded, “In respect of students who pursue school education in English medium under matriculation and CBSE schools, after completion of their school studies when they pursue professional courses or any degree courses in English medium, they find it very easy to understand, communicate, and mingle with other students as well as with faculty and they have an edge when compared to the Tamil medium students from the state board. These Tamil medium students could not fare well in the professional courses because of their lack of communication skills, more particularly in spoken English. This inability continues even in work places.”

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