Literary and students’ bodies demand the withdrawal of the Assam govt. decision on the medium of instruction.

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Leading literary and student groups in Assam requested on Monday that the state government immediately reverse its decision to start teaching Science and Mathematics in English starting in Class 3 in vernacular-medium schools. The parties also voiced their objection to other government choices made regarding education, including the adoption of dual language instruction in public schools, the cessation of the provincial nation of educational institutions, and the transfer of State Board-affiliated schools to CBSE.

According to the leaders of the Assam Sahitya Sabha (ASS), Bodo Sahitya Sabha (BSS), All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), and All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), a joint memorandum demanding the revocation of the decisions will be delivered to the chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma shortly. After a day-long meeting between the organisations, the chief advisor of AASU, Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharjya, declared at a news conference, “We are vehemently opposed to the policies taken by the administration. We demand that they reconsider and take them back right away. We will file a unified memorandum with our demand for overturning these rulings, he continued, because we believe they will spell the end for mother tongue-language schools and ultimately for Assamese, Bodo, and other state languages.

On July 28, the state cabinet resolved that beginning in the third grade, all government-run Assamese and other vernacular medium schools will begin teaching mathematics and science in English. The adoption of a dual language of instruction in Assamese and vernacular schools run by the state government was also allowed for Classes 6 through 12. Geography and History would take the place of Social Studies as required topics in the school curriculum, it was also agreed.

Prior to this, the government had stated that it would cease the provincial nation of colleges and universities as well as transfer some state-board high schools to the CBSE. The ideal language to acquire these topics, especially at the primary level, is the mother tongue, according to Bhattacharjya, who opposed teaching math and science in English. It is acknowledged in the National Education Policy 2020. “It is unacceptable for the government to use this choice to improve students’ command of the English language as justification. The focus should be placed on teaching English properly if they want to improve it, he said.

Bhattacharjya said the four organisations will be holding consultations with teachers from elementary to university level as well as a separate discussion with leaders of different tribes over these issues. “We will be organising an educational convention to discuss these matters soon,” the AASU leader said.

According to ABSU President Dwipen Bodo, if Mathematics and Science are taught in English, students of vernacular-medium schools will be required to take three subjects in English and just three in their own tongue. Additionally, he argued that the government’s claim that it was necessary so that kids could do better in competitive tests is untrue given the success of students from Assamese, Bodo, and other medium schools in a variety of disciplines.

The development of the facilities at government schools should be prioritised, according to ASS president Kuladhar Saikia. He declared, “The government should provide the best facilities for the pupils and establish a setting that will allow the students to learn well.” The Bodo Accord, which was struck in January 2020, is said to have been violated by the decision to discontinue provincializing educational institutions, according to BSS chief Toren Bodo. He claimed that the BSS and the ABSU would inform the populace of the government’s decision and if they so desired, would organise a movement against it.

The Satra Mukti Sangram Samiti had also voiced criticism of the government’s most recent actions. English as the language of instruction was one of the Cabinet decisions that opposition political parties and individuals, such as Raijor Dal and Assam Jatiya Parishad, as well as Congress’ Debabrata Saikia, the leader of the opposition in the state house, had opposed.

Mayank Tewari

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