Kollam: English is not yet a language in the eyes of the education department. This has resulted in 351 government high schools in the state not having a teacher with degree and B.Ed in English.

If aided schools are taken into account, teachers of other subjects are teaching English in over 700 schools. Majority of the high schools in most districts does not even have one English teacher.

Besides Malayalam and Hindi, Arabic and Sanskrit are also considered languages by the education department in Kerala. The government had issued an order in 2003 making English a subject language. However, it was not realised as more teacher posts had to be created.

Posts for language teachers are created according to periods. At present, English comes under the core subject section where teachers are appointed according to the number of divisions in a school.

A school with two divisions in class 8 and one division each in classes 9 and 10, will not be able to sustain an English teacher. In that case, the Science, Social Science or Mathematics teachers will have to teach English.

If English was considered as a subject language, a teacher would be appointed for 15 periods. Though the education department is well aware of the situation, it is not taking action as it could create huge financial problems, officials said.

Education activists say that the government not appointing teachers in schools at a time when it is spending crores to construct new buildings and create smart classrooms was an anomaly.

Major error that must be rectified

“English must be taught by teachers who have taken it as their core subject. The major reason behind the low standard of English among our students is that they are being taught by teachers who don’t know English. This is a mistake proven in many studies. The students are unable to speak and write English with confidence. Effective efforts are not being taken to rectify this.”

- R V G Menon, education expert