Standard of English needs to be raised, not lowered

  • Letters
  • Sunday, 22 Aug 2004

NEW DELHI: English is the bane of Higher Secondary (HS) exam candidates this year with about 35% failing in the second language paper. 

Instead of improving the quality of English taught in schools, the HS Council simply decides to scale down the syllabus for next year and make the course easier. 

Is this the way to prepare students competing with those from other states where English is taught better, if not properly? If textbooks have a plethora of spelling and grammatical faults, how are students expected to learn? 

West Bengal, particularly Kolkata, at one time had a reputation of having the best educational institutions in the country – from schools to universities. English was almost the second mother tongue of the Bengali. 

But CPI-M’s wicked experiments with English tell an unbelievable tale. Removing English from the curricula because it was regarded as the “language of imperialism” has hampered generations living in a shrinking world. 

Most countries have realised, including our neighbours in China, that globalisation has made English the international language for commerce and trade. 

English-speaking Bengalis are extremely successful in all spheres around the world. By not equipping the next generation with world-class English, we are handicapping them in competing for their future. 

If the wrongs of the last 20 years have to be rectified, it cannot be done by bringing standards down but by raising them. 

Teaching has to improve so that students can reach those raised standards and again be able to hold their own when competing with the rest of the country. - The Daily Star 

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