At the Natipora government high school in Srinagar, Manzoor Ahmad Dar prefers to use English, Urdu and Kashmiri as the medium of instruction. He says at times one has to use the Kashmiri language even in an English class. Dar says there is a marked improvement in the performance of government schools over the past few years, as English is now understood by most students. Over the past two years, a number of students from private schools have enrolled in government schools due to the economic slowdown caused by Covid-19, and teachers like Dar see it as a blessing for government schools. He says since students of private schools are well-versed in English, it becomes easy for other students to pick up the language. Dar feels eventually, students would prefer English as a medium of instruction.
Dar’s optimism about the English language is bound to be deflated by the recently released National Education Policy (NEP), which states that preference will be given to mother tongues and regional languages as medium of instruction. While many states are deliberating whether to implement the NEP, Jammu and Kashmir under Governor’s rule is likely to do so.