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English Medium Schools in India - What does it really mean


Over the past 10 years, we have seen schools mushroom in every Indian town and it will not come as a surprise that almost 90% of them are “English Medium” schools charging exhorbitant school fees every month. We, as parents of young students, really want them to get the best education. We also realize the knowing English is a stepping stone to a bright career in the future and thus insist on English Medium Schools.  



But do we, as parents know what “English Medium” really means? Before reading further, try to take a guess

  1. English is a subject taught in the school
  2. All subject books, including science and maths, are in English
  3. Teacher for all subjects always use English in all classes
  4. Board papers will be given in English
  5. It was a school started by the church / christian missionary 

Go on, tell us which one of these is correct definition? Well, if you are confused, don’t be ashamed. Some of the “English Medium” schools we spoke to, were also confused and gave contradicting definitions. 

So here goes. English Medium School, as the name suggests, is a school where “Medium” of instruction is English. For this to happen, 4 conditions need to be met. 

  • All subjects , other than languages like Hindi and Sanskrit, are taught in English
  • The books for all these subjects are in English
  • The home work and class work assignments as well as the examination for these subjects is taken in English 
  • Finally, and more importantly, teacher uses English as a language to teach these subjects to the class


There are variations to how schools choose to implement these 4 conditions and we will talk about them in our next article on 3 types of English Medium Schools in India

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