LAHORE - The Punjab Government has declared all the primary and elementary sections of secondary schools as English medium thus rendering English as medium of instruction for primary classes. According to notification issued by the EDOs Education of all districts of the province, there will be no Urdu medium classes in government schools from the next session starting from April 2010. The decision has superseded the earlier decision to declare 10 per cent schools as English medium. The government has also started 12-day training of primary teachers in spoken English. Already headmasters, headmistresses and senior teachers have been given six days training in spoken English as Master trainers. For their training, students of B.Ed and M.Ed in Teachers Training colleges and University of Education (UoE) were hired on monthly remuneration of Rs3000 for training of Master trainers. According to notification, the teachers will get three hours training daily after the school timings. The teachers bodies however have expressed reservations against the English as medium of instructions in government schools due to inadequate arrangements. Muslim Teachers leader Rana Liaquat Ali said that the primary teachers can teach English as a subject after some training but they cant teach Mathematics and General Science in English. Moreover around 50,000 primary teachers employed before the year 1997 are simply Matriculates. How can these teachers impart instructions in English to their students?, he asked. Furthermore, the six-days training to Master trainers and 12 days to teachers does not mean anything special when the trainers themselves are untrained and ignorant of English language and its teaching. The other objection to the announcement is regarding the simultaneous start of English medium from Class One to 6th. How can the students of class 2 to 6th would learn in English when they have no idea of English medium in their previous classes? Yes the students of class I will take a start from English and gradually proceed easy. The other objection to the English medium stream is the increase in tuition fee. The government has increased the tuition fee from the existing Rs7 to Rs20 per month for English medium schools, which is not easily affordable to those poor parents whose five to seven kids are studying in primary schools. Thus the step is against the claim to provide free education to the students. Yet another reason to oppose the decision is that usually the students are inclined to government schools for easy Urdu medium courses but if the government schools will toe the line of private schools, the drop out of students will increase and new enrolment will suffer drastically. Meanwhile the EDO Education Lahore has agreed to the proposal of Muslim Teachers Federations delegation to change the timings of teachers training course from 1:00pm to 4:00pm instead of 2:00pm to 5:00pm and opening of training centres close to the vicinity of schools.