Students in Gujarat are not only perceived weak in English, a significant number fail the board exam in Gujarati, their mother tongue. As New Education Policy-2020 emphasizes on quality learning in English as well as in mother tongue, Gujarat is set to allow private schools to opt for bilingual teaching from the new academic year.

The bilingual model has been approved based on a pilot project run in 29 schools. The decision was taken in July 2021 but finally cleared on Wednesday after issues were smoothed with a certain section of private schools. Rais Maniar, one of the members who attended the meeting to get clarity on implementation, said Éducation Minister Jitu Vaghani said no further permission is required from district education officers to opt for a bilingual model of teaching learning.

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Schools just need to inform the authorities. Maniar, a child psychologist in Surat involved in the pilot project, said bilingual teaching has shown good results. He added, We have developed a model syllabus and textbooks with lessons in both languages. We teach mathematics, science in English from primary and the rest of the subjects in Gujarati.The textbooks have lessons in both the languages for better understanding of students. This will not only address the issue of quality English education, Gujarati medium schools that are on decline will get a breather.

Schools will be able to switch to bilingual teaching from the new academic year (2022-23). Priority will be given to private schools as they may need to train teachers and have financial resources to implement it. Officials said the model may be implemented in government schools after studying its effectiveness in private schools. Archit Bhatt, a trustee of Tripada School, said the move will boost Gujarati-medium schools struggling to survive. This is a good move and should be lapped up by private schools offering education in regional language, he said. The state government will put up details of the program on the website bilingual medium.

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