21 December 2006

English Language

The State (Tamil Nadu) Planning Commission, in an Approach Paper to the 11th Five Year Plan, has sought a strong push to ensure fluency in English (which is regarded as an essential prerequisite in the modern world) among school students.

While pointing out impressive showings in respect of enrolment in Elementary Education and availability of school infrastructure, the Planning Commission lists areas of concern as being: Inter-District disparities in enrolment, dropouts at the post-Primary level, access to Higher Education and the quality of education in general.

It was recommended that the State should take steps for maximising secondary enrolment. Gross enrolment ratios at the High School level continues to show disparity (including gender disparity) between Districts especially in regard to Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram, Cuddalore, and Dindigul. The Commission also reported a large urban-rural, rich-poor divide in the quality of education offered in schools.

The Planning Commission's Approach Paper implied Industrial Training Institutes and Polytechnics should be made first-level Vocational Training Centres that should develop courses and curriculum suited to the needs of the economy.

In regard to Higher Education, the paper reports that the quality of teaching in basic sciences and humanities in Institutions of Higher Learning have been slipping as a result of falling demand for the courses compared to professional courses such as Engineering.

The Approach Paper pointed out that given the continuing high poverty levels in the State in both rural and urban areas, the public sector model in health and education have a continuing relevance. It recommends that the strategy to improve human development indices should be to concentrate on reaching most vulnerable sections and those excluded from the progress achieved in the State.

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