The Assam cabinet’s decision to teach Science and Mathematics in English instead of Assamese or other vernacular languages has drawn criticism from some political parties, literary organizations and student groups.
On Thursday, the state cabinet approved that from now on the two subjects will be taught in English in all government schools from class 3 to class 12 instead of Assamese, Bodo or Bengali.
“Introduction of English medium for teaching Science and Mathematics will not hurt Assamese and other languages as students will continue to learn them as subjects. This move can encourage more parents to enroll their children in government schools,” Chief Minister Himanta said. Biswa Sarma said at an event in Guwahati on Friday.
Some sections say that the move by the BJP-led government was rushed without consulting the people concerned, and is damaging the long-term future of Assamese and other vernacular languages.
“The current action taken by the state government is very confusing. Earlier, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had publicly advocated teaching medicine and engineering in Assamese and now the state cabinet has decided that Science and Mathematics will be taught in English. The Assam government should clarify its stand on both issues,” Congress leader of opposition Debabrata Saikia said.
Rajor Dal, a member of the regional party, said that this move will reduce the relationship between the Somali language and other languages in the region. In a press release issued by the party on July 28, he accused the government of being slow to deal with issues related to teacher training and other problems in school education.
“The government’s reason for taking the decision to ensure that the students of Assam do well in the national level examinations is not a watershed as it has been proven that children learn their mother tongue well, especially in the world. at the basic level,” the president of the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), told a press conference on Saturday.
The state’s apex literary body, Asam Sahitya Sabha (ASS) and the most influential student union, All Assam Students Union (AASU) also defied the government’s decision. There is also the question of getting teachers to teach Science and Maths in English.
Opposing the move, Bodo Sahitya Sabha and All Bodo Students Union—prominent organizations of the state’s Bodo community said the decision was rushed and would have a negative impact on the Bodo language.
“The decision of the cabinet is welcome. Many people these days send their wards to English medium schools. That step can help slow down that trend. I don’t think there is any threat to the vernacular languages and the present government will not take such action,” said Bodoland Territorial (BTR) Governor Pramod Bodo and president of the United Peoples Party Liberal (UPPL) which is the ruling coalition of Assam.