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West Bengal unveils new state education policy

The SEP encapsulates the existing framework for school education and incorporates several noteworthy features

West Bengal unveils new state education policy

The government of West Bengal recently announced a new state Education Policy (SEP), a move that has been celebrated as a "bold step towards inclusive education" by the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

The SEP encapsulates the existing framework for school education and incorporates several noteworthy features.

In a notification issued by the West Bengal education department on September 9, it was detailed that the state's 5+4+2+2 school structure would continue.

This structure translates into a year of pre-primary followed by four years of primary education until Class 4, then two years of secondary and two years of higher secondary education.

The state's informants stated that the existing system would be enhanced by the inclusion of the initial two years of education at an Anganwadi centre, followed by a year of pre-primary education.

The remaining structure of primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary would otherwise stay consistent.

The West Bengal government's aim to improve its education system emphasised the elevation of standards for marginalized, disadvantaged, and under-represented student communities.

To achieve this, distinguished academics were consulted through a committee established in April 2022.

The SEP is based on these recommendations and was approved by the state cabinet in August 2023.

On the higher education level, the new policy replaces the traditional structure by introducing semester-level exams aimed at aiding the transition from school to university.

The mother tongue is established as the medium of instruction, a decision influenced by the ethnic and linguistic profile of the region.

Bengali, Nepali, and Hindi are a few languages that will be prevalent in the education system according to region.

The policy recommends that Bengali be introduced as a subject from Class 1 for students attending schools that instruct in other languages.

Analysing these changes, Aveek Majumder, an expert committee member, expressed satisfaction as all the committee's suggestions were accepted by the government.

He remains hopeful that these guidelines will allow students in West Bengal to meet national and global standards.

Some of the key features of the West Bengal state education policy are:

Three-language policy: A three-language policy to be introduced for Classes 5 to 8 to strengthen the "federal spirit of the Constitution".

Focus on mother tongue: Mother Tongue to be made the medium of instruction in school. Eg: Nepali, Santhali, Rajbanshi and Bengali.

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