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Please-all language policy ready

By Malabika Bhattacharya

Kolkata Dec. 31. The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Government in West Bengal is close to resolving a long-standing and emotive socio-political issue — the teaching of English in the early stages of the school system by readying a please-all language policy.Officials say the Government has all but prepared a language policy that will most probably be announced in January 2004.

Keen on ensuring a wider use of English, as the language occupies a key place in his plans for making Bengal an industrial powerhouse, Mr. Bhattacharjee has got the CPI(M) as well as the Left Front leadership to bring back the teaching of English in Class I after neutralising the resistance of the anti-English lobbies in and outside the Government as well as the Front.English will be taught from Class I against the current formal teaching of the language from Class III — along with the compulsory learning of Bengali by the children belonging to different linguistic groups up to Class VIII from June 2004. Since the latter has been dressed up to appear as a hard-earned victory for them, the mother-tongue (here Bengali) lobbies are expected to keep quiet about the return of English to the school system.

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