Gujarat is first in the country to implement ‘bilingual’ as third voluntary education medium

Surat :  Gujarat has become the first state in India to implement the third alternative medium of education. Apart from English and Gujarat medium, Gujarati parents will have the opportunity to enroll their wards in the schools imparting bilingual education—Gujarati plus English.

Thanks to the bunch of schools in Surat for successfully initiating the trend of bilingual or global medium of education in their respective schools since 2016. About 25 higher secondary schools, majority of them imparting education in Gujarati medium, adopted the bilingual medium of education, which caught the attention of the State Government and the education experts in Gujarat.

The city-based Bhulka Bhavan Trust, a renowned name in the education field, was the first to experiment with the bilingual medium of education in their Gujarati medium schools in 2016. The main objective behind starting the bilingual medium of education was to protect the Gujarati medium schools from the onslaught of the English medium schools and to provide opportunity to the next generation students to receive education in Gujarat as well as English languages.

How the bilingual medium of education will work ?

Students will be eligible to take up bilingual medium of education from standard-1, which is the beginning of their education journey. Education department will be coming out with the bilingual text books for the students in a very short time. There will be four different stages of bilingual education in the schools, which will cover standard 1 and Standard-2, standard 3,4 and 5, standard 6 and 7 and standard 8, 9 and 10th. The text books of mathematics, science and environment will come in bilingual languages including Gujarati and English and that other subjects will be taught in Gujarati language including social science, Hindi and Sanskrit.

Mita Vakil of the Bhulka Bhavan Trust told TBT, “Children of the Gujarati parents can speak in their mother tongue, but when it comes to writing or reading, they are unable to deliver desirable result. Thus, we thought of introducing bilingual medium of education for the Gujarati medium students. The experiment was successful and that about 25 schools have joined the initiative”

Following the success of the bilingual education in Surat’s schools, the education department of Gujarat Government issued a notification to the schools in Gujarat to voluntarily take up the bilingual medium of education to shape a better future of the Gujarati students in Surat. A committee was set up by the Gujarat government for the bilingual medium of education, which recommended the third voluntary alternative to the English and Gujarati language—Bilingual medium of education.

Dr Raees Maniar, poet and pediatrician, who is also working as the education advisor of the Bhulka Bhavan Trust, told TBT, “Gujarat is the only state in India where the third voluntary alternative of teaching is made available to the students from their young age. Like Gujarati and English, Bilingual is the third medium of education in Gujarat and it has got approval from the Education department of the Gujarat Government”

Maniar added, “Our prime motive behind the bilingual medium of education is to protect the glory, tradition and culture of the mother tongue. Today, there are more than 70% English medium schools, while the rest are imparting education in Gujarati. The children of Gujarati parents studying in English medium schools have been detached from their very culture and tradition of Gujarati language. They don’t know how to read and write in Gujarati”

According to Maniar, the students studying in bilingual medium will not only have the command over the Gujarati language, but he will have a similar command over the English language. The schools voluntarily taking up bilingual education are doing this to protect the mother tongue.

Mita Vakil of Bhulka Bhavan Trust told TOI, “The schools imparting in Gujarati medium are decreasing day-by-day. If this would continue for another few years, Gujarati language will disappear from the schools. However, we decided to start the bilingual education initiative to allow the students learn in English as well as Gujarati”

According to Vakil, the Human, Resources Development (HRD) ministry has taken an in-principal decision to introduce bilingual medium of education in the schools following the successful pilot project undertaken by about 25 schools in Surat since 2016. A  notification in this connection has been issued to the respective state government for setting up bilingual schools”

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