Anti-English bias hampers middle class

10th April 1998 at 01:00
INDIA

Twenty years after the Marxist government of West Bengal abolished English in primary schools, urban middle-class families are pressing for it to be re-introduced.

Parents say that not knowing English is a handicap in an era of globalisation and that their children are at a disadvantage compared with those in private schools where English is taught from the first day.

In the recent parliamentary elections, the ruling Left Front lost five metropolitan seats in Calcutta - the capital of West Bengal - to a fledgeling party which campaigned for bringing English back to primary classes. The government's decision, announced barely a month after the election results, has been welcomed.

In an editorial, the English language newspaper Pioneer said: "Undeniably, Mr Basu (Jyoti Basu, the West Bengal chief minister) has been urged to make this announcement following the unexpected reverses suffered by the ruling Left FrontI But for the moment cynicism must be cast aside and the announcement welcomed for the sake of Bengal's harried middle class."

A controversy, however, has erupted over the choice of Dr Fabitra Sarkar, a former vice-chancellor, as chairman of the commission which would work out the details. Dr Sarker is known for his "anti-English bias".

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now