UP: Foreign language course for class IX students in 7 districts
 
From next month, the Uttar Pradesh government will introduce an optional three-month foreign language course in 50 schools in seven districts that attract a large number of tourists. The pilot project will see the select schools in Lucknow, Allahabad, Agra, Mathura, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Ghaziabad offer training in two foreign languages from French, German, Spanish and Japanese, depending on the number of students applying for the same.
 
The programme funded under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan will be offered free of cost to class IX students. “The concept is new for government secondary schools in the state. We are starting it on pilot basis in seven districts at present, which are significant from the tourism point of view. The idea is not only to increase the employability options for the students but also to encourage them to take up foreign languages in higher studies also,” said V K Pandey, Additional State Project Director, ‘Madhyamik Rashtriya Shiksha Abhiyan’ in Uttar Pradesh.
 
On why Gorakhpur and Ghaziabad were included, Pandey said tourists arrive at the Gorakhpur airport for the Buddhist Circuit – significant places of Buddhism – that begins from Kushinagar. He added that Kushinagar may figure in the government’s future plans for the project.
 
On Ghaziabad, he said that a district falling under the National Capital Region was required as part of the project to enable students from close to the national capital to participate. Pandey added that the project may be extended to class X students from next year.
 
The government plans to hire teachers on an honourarium basis with a salary of Rs 10,000 per month. The estimated budget for the project is Rs 30 lakh. “We have received the Government of India’s approval and will begin the course from August. The idea is a 90-day training program. If there are about two to three classes a week then it could be a six-month course as well,” said Sanjay Agarwal, Additional Chief Secretary, Secondary Education, Uttar Pradesh government.
 
He said that based on the enrollment and response of students, decision would be taken accordingly to expand it to other classes and more district and also have more classes for the same districts as well.