Tripura has bucked the trend of governments pandering to sub-regional sentiments in deciding to convert 769 state-run Bengali-medium schools to English.
The Left Front government’s avowed move is to prevent students from shifting to private schools. But it comes at a time when Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal government is allegedly trying to impose Bengali in the Darjeeling hills, a move that has threatened to revive the Gorkhaland demand.
A notification issued by Tripura’s Directorate of Secondary Education said the process of converting 769 Bengali medium schools to English medium will start from the next academic session.
The process, it added, will be completed in the next five years.
The department has also set targets – 184 schools next year followed by 173 in 2019, 155 in 2020, 140 in 2021 and the remaining 117 in 2022.
“We have asked the school inspectors to identify the schools in their respective areas for conversion of medium,” a senior education officer said, declining to be quoted.
“The enrolment in government schools has been declining over the years because parents prefer to send their wards to private English medium schools despite the high costs. This has made us decide to go for a complete overhaul from Bengali to English,” the officer said.
The government, though, has not specified anything about appointment of teachers and development of academic infrastructure.
Of the total 3.66 million people in Tripura, 67.14% speak Bengali.