ENGLISH is a medium of instruction and a subject, an official says.
The English language is compulsory as the medium of instruction in all schools, however, at elementary schools, vernacular may be used in special circumstances to explain difficult concepts.
Curriculum developers have identified the need and importance of using vernacular in certain occasions since home language had more vocabularies than English.
“The activity is consistent with Ministerial Policy Statement No. 1/2013 and the Secretary’s Circular/Instruction No.4/2013 for both. It is titled Language Policy in All Schools,” director for curriculum and assessment Steven Tandale said.
The significance of the specific instructions highlighted are:
lThe English language to be taught as a subject starting at preparatory grade;
lthe teaching of vernacular as a subject, if there exits an orthography with approval from the provincial education board and a trained teacher who is proficient in the language;
lthe teaching of phonics in reading and writing the English language and the vernacular language as a subject, and the promotion of Reading in schools; and,
lTime allocations in the teaching of English and mathematics have been increased at the elementary and primary schools to give more time to teachers to teach the two subjects.
“It is hoped that these will lead to better student performance and raise education standards, particularly at the basic education level,” Tandale said.
This contradicts the policy instruction “English as subject in all schools”, however, at the early years of schooling, the medium of instruction will be the bilingual approach, principal curriculum and assessment officer for elementary section, Philippa Darius said.
Elementary one (1), they will bridge same sounds, matching sounds and the new sounds in comparison with their language alphabet with English sounds, while the elementary two (2) teacher guide will address the grammar aspects of the languages and bridge to English.
She said the development of language syllabus and teachers guide for elementary teachers for preparatory grades (one and two) now had the content of how to teach a language starting in prep with teaching the phonograms (sounds) of their language.
“This approach is the first of its kind to have a standalone teachers guide that will provide teaching and learning strategies of how to teach a language and not English alone,” she said.
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