India

26% of schoolkids in English medium; nearly 60% in Delhi | India News

More than a quarter of all schoolchildren in India now study in English-medium schools though Hindi remains by far the biggest medium of instruction, accounting for over 42% of total enrolment. Among the states that have more kids in English medium than in vernacular are Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, besides most of the southern states and several smaller states and Union territories.
This was revealed in the latest UDISE (Unified District Information System for Education) report for 2019-20 which covers about 26.5 crore children from primary to senior secondary level in over 15 lakh schools. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in many so-called English-medium schools, instruction is often imparted in the local language, but the rise in enrolment in such schools nevertheless indicates an aspirational urge.
The biggest increase in the proportion of children choosing English medium has been in Haryana, a jump of over 23 percentage points, compared to 27.6% of students in 2014-15. Telangana followed, with a jump of 21.7 percentage points putting 73.8% of students in English medium.
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have the smallest proportion of students studying in the vernacular medium, Telugu. Telangana has less than a quarter studying in Telugu medium, while in Andhra, it is less than a third. Enrolment in Malayalam medium too is eroding quickly, down to barely 35% from 46% in 2014-15. While only Telangana and Kerala among the larger states had more than half the enrolled students in English medium schools in 2014-15, since then, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh too have joined the club. In the last five years, English raced to overtake Tamil as the preferred medium of instruction in Tamil Nadu: from 42.6%, the proportion of students jumped to 57.6%. Karnataka remains the only southern state where vernacular medium schools have more students (53.5%), than English medium ones, though the share of English has jumped by almost 20 percentage points.
Delhi, Haryana and Punjab are the only states in the north where the vernacular medium has been overtaken by English. While Delhi might have a higher proportion of students in English medium, almost 60%, the increase in share of English medium in Delhi over the five years before the current report was a modest 7.6 percentage points compared to the huge jump witnessed in Haryana. In Punjab, the share of English went up from 37.6% to 51%. Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are two other Hindi belt states that are seeing considerable growth in proportion of students in English medium.
Though there is a steady increase in the proportion of students opting for English as the medium of instruction in all states, the increase is very small in most Hindi belt states. However, the smallest proportion of students studying in English medium is in West Bengal, just 5.3%, compared to 89.8% in Bengali medium. This, combined with the high proportion of students in Bengali medium in Tripura (80%), makes Bengali the third largest language of instruction in India (6.7%), followed by Marathi (5.6%). Odisha (9.5%) and Bihar (10%) are the two other states with the smallest proportion of students in English medium.
The proportion of English-medium schools is highest, more than 53%, among larger schools which are from Class 1 to Class 10 or 12, senior secondary or higher secondary schools. It’s share is among the lowest (12.3%) in primary schools (Class 1-5) as most state governments continue to emphasise the need to start children off in their mother tongue. English-medium schools are a small proportion (just 4.7%) in the category of very small schools which have just upper primary classes (6-8) or just 11% in schools with just senior secondary classes (9 & 10 only).




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