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The Tamil Nadu government has set up a panel consisting of educationists and subject matter experts to suggest a new education policy for the state.

Tamil should be the language of learning, and each school student should be able to attend the school closest to their homes. These should be the focus areas for the panel, said education activist Prince Gajendra Babu.

Education is on the concurrent list, so there is a need for the state government to formulate a policy that would serve Tamil Nadu’s needs. Prince Gajendra Babu spoke to about what the panel headed by retired Justice Murugesan should consider.

“School education and higher education should not be seen separately. School education is a stepping stone to higher education. For the sake of administration, there can be separate departments but they should not be seen as separate departments. It’s because of this gap that separate tests for admission to colleges are made necessary.

The present system of 10 years school education, two years high school and three years of college should not be changed. The two-year post graduate course should also continue.

Formal education should begin above five years. Children less than three years can get informal pre-kg education.

Theli After-school program by Kara Newhouse- Flickr

Tamil should be the language of education since it is the mother tongue. But, given the present situation, English should also be taught. Those whose mother tongue is another language should learn in their language and also learn Tamil. There is not much use in making students learn too many languages. What language they learn should be left to their choice.

Those studying in medicine or engineering should also be aware of social problems and history. So social science courses should be included in their syllabus.

Until the completion of school education, technical training should not be forced on students in the name of vocational education for employability. Colleges should not do admissions based on entrance tests. Their admission should be based solely on their performance in their school exams.

Public school education should be strengthened. Along with that, ways to implement neighbourhood schools should also be found. Each class should have one teacher. Through this those studying in government schools, especially primary schools, will get good quality education.

Those studying in medicine or engineering should also be aware of social problems and history. So social science courses should be included in their syllabus.

Self-financed courses for which students pay separately should not be introduced in government schools and efforts should be taken to improve standards in government schools and colleges. As per our needs, new government colleges should be opened and run. Even if central government funds don’t come, the state should not compromise on spending for colleges. In short, serving the common man should be the goal of the new education policy of Tamil Nadu.”

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