West Bengal Government to Give Stress To Teaching English
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said that her government will give stress to teaching English in schools as generations of students were affected as the language was not taught in the state-run schools.

"There were several years when generation after generation were not allowed to learn English language. I want English to be taught (in schools). We want that English should be taught, we will back it," Banerjee said without naming the erstwhile Left Front government, which had stopped the teaching of English in state-run schools till Class VI in 1983.

Preference should be given to one's mother tongue or choice of language but students should also possess knowledge of the local dialect, she said at a Teachers' Day programme hosted by the education department.

"They (students) will also learn Bengali as well as English. They may learn other languages if they want to.

They can learn Gorkha, Nepali, Ol Chiki, Maithili or whatever they feel because language is one's prerogative. But because a student is staying in West Bengal, he/she must know the regional language," she said.

Banerjee also said that her government would give importance in the teaching of the mother tongue.

"We will give importance to mother tongues where it is required. Where needed we will give importance to English, and where we need to give importance to Hindi. We will also give importance to Gurmukhi language because of our Sikh brothers and sisters," she said.

Earlier this year the state government had announced that Bengali would be made mandatory for students, including those affiliated to ICSE and CBSE in West Bengal. The move came after a feedback that Bengali was not being offered as an option in many schools.