News report from yesterday mentions that CBSE is introducing Mandarin as a language from the 2011-12 session. This should be welcome news to many Chinese people who live in our country, especially in cities like Calcutta (Kolkata, if you must). CBSE already offers a host of foreign languages including German, French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese etc as optional subjects across the country.
A panel of experts set up by CBSE will prepare the syllabus, textbooks and recommend training methods and mechanisms. Besides some other schools Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghathan declared that they might start offering Mandarin as well.
We believe this is an astute move given the fact that many people travel to China, conduct business there and that Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in that country. But, two questions come quickly to mind:
- Where will we find teachers to teach Mandarin?
- And what about the many Tibetan people who live in our country, will they like this move?
Quite different from perhaps about 20 years ago, many schools in India now have computers and computer labs. The PC per student ratio is slightly better, and many government school students now have access to PCs in school as well as broadband connectivity to the web.
For all of India consider that only 18.86% of the total schools in urban areas are private and un-aided. Of these, about 38% have computers in the school for use of students. That is about 59400 of them. Of the list of schools that CBSE publishes, let us consider the 1743 schools in Delhi. This of course is a mix of schools from completely government funded, to aided schools and to private unaided schools. Of these 1638 do not report the presence of a computer lab (of course, this might include a number who have not reported numbers to CBSE). With a margin of error, that is just about 6% schools with computer labs.
Compare this to a situation which shows that the government system can be made to work very effectively too. Kendriya Vidayala Sanghathan runs a whopping 1073 schools (as of September this year) across the country. Of these, 964 schools have PCs for student use and 824 have broadband connectivity. Of course, the Annual Report of the Ministry of HRD does not specify whether students have access to all the PCs or not. Assuming optimistically, it provides a ratio of about 26 students to a PC (see detailed numbers in the table). Very clearly, while other schools (both government and private) lag behind Kendriya Vidyalayas continue to provide yeoman service in educating our young ones.