If there is one project most close to the heart of Jaganmohan Reddy and by extension, the Andhra Pradesh government, it is its objective to convert classes 1 to 6 in all government schools in the state from Telugu medium to English medium from the next academic year. And it needs a 360 degree framework, extending from training the teachers, finding the right educational aids to creating the infrastructure to make schools a place students can look forward to spending time in.
The government’s plan is unveiled in a 13-page long order that significantly involves parents as stakeholders in the entire process instead of making the administration the sole custodian of this makeover. The parents will be motivated to contribute one-day voluntary labour to affirm their participation as part of the community contracting system which is promoted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The Parents committee will enter into an MoU with the Executive Engineer to ensure execution of the activities at the school premises. Even the book keeping is being outsourced to the Parents committees and they have been mandated to account for every rupee spent.
The idea is that the parents, more than any elected representative, will have a vested interest to ensure the best facilities at the schools their wards go to. This, the government hopes, will cut down corruption and compromise in quality of work at the ground level.
One room in every school will also be developed as an English lab. But instead of high-end educational aids, the chief minister has suggested that at these English labs, the students are exposed to a large number of English and animation films meant for children. B Rajsekhar, Principal secretary, Education, who along with his team is piloting the entire programme, says the idea is to make the children watch films and get to hear a large number of English words and sentences on a daily basis and thereby increase their comfort level with the language.