Knowledge is available only to those who understand English: Expert

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | PROF DR N PRABHUDEV
Published Jan 7, 2019, 5:57 am IST
Updated Jan 7, 2019, 5:57 am IST
English is the second national language in India as it meets the requirement of modern world.
The system of primary education is like flat tire, if you don’t change it you will never go anywhere.  (Representational Image)
 The system of primary education is like flat tire, if you don’t change it you will never go anywhere. (Representational Image)

Bengaluru: Whether education should be in the regional language or in English is a question posed before many parents.

English medium in primary education- I Support the government’s stand.

 

English is the second national language in India as it meets the requirement of modern world. India is a country with too many languages with some being state specific and others National. English has now become sort of our national language- a connecting language for the whole India. Regional language do play important role but as time is passing the world is tilting more to the English language. 

There is more to good schooling than the 'regional language vs English' debate? Good infra-structure, quality teachers, smart classrooms digitization and the likes. With a multitude of problems and the diversity of languages, the medium of instruction remains a topic of impassioned debate. Teaching in the mother tongue fuels pride, but English is here to stay. 

The system of primary education is like flat tire, if you don’t change it you will never go anywhere.  Decades ago, the country upturned every tenet of good governance by carving out new states on the basis of language rather than administrative convenience. In more recent years, the medium of instruction in schools has instead become the medium of discord.

Early age is like an empty jar which can be filled with endless thoughts, knowledge, and behavior contributed by their parents, friends and Teachers. 

How many languages can children learn at the same time? Should they master one language before we start to teach another? Is two or three languages too many for a child to learn?

What we know is that children can learn multiple languages at once, and the advantages of being bilingual are endless. Learning multiple languages from birth is not a new phenomenon either. The main factor when determining how many languages a child can learn at once is the languages the parents speak. 

I am a strong proponent of introducing the student early on to English. There are reasons for it. Children have the capacity to learn more than one language simultaneously. During early childhood, children's abilities to understand, to process, and to produce language also flourish in an amazing way. Bilingual experience has been shown to improve cognitive abilities, especially problem-solving.

What is a better medium of instruction at schools? Should Indian kids go to English medium schools or to schools that teach in regional / local languages?

 I believe there is an overwhelming majority in India who favor admitting their kids to English Medium schools. we need to strike the right balance in introducing the kids to mother tongue and other languages. 

Knowing English is vital. It is the language of conversation. It is the language of business. It is the language the world speaks. 

Scientifically it has proven that the ability to catch new languages slides down with the age. Sooner you introduce a student to English, the easier it is to adopt to it. In fact, science has proven that our linguistic abilities, i.e. the ability to pick up new languages, go down drastically with age. 

With the world becoming so much closer and more connected, English is considered the passport to social mobility and is the preferred language of instruction among parents 

English is the language of Science, Technology, computers, internet, Journalism, websites etc. According to the searches it has shown that 80% of the information fed in the computer is in English as it is most overwhelming language over the Internet.

Even in countries like Europe, japan, Germany where the instruction is in their national languages there is a strong focus in Schools to learn English. Though older generation may not know English, people less than 30 years of age and living in urban areas know English very well. And the trend is just intensifying. 

Activists in Karnataka, throughout the late 1980’s through 2018’s argued as to which should be the language of education and state, with the outcome being that it should be Kannada, a language spoken by around only a third of the State, but this unfortunately was not the wishes of many of the people, merely activists in positions of power.

Activists argue however, that to learn through the medium of English would be to lose ones culture and heritage. Parents disagree strongly with this argument as it’s claimed that if they have their own influences on their children and the ways in which they are raised, then there should be no fear of westernization, and that both the English language and their Indian heritage can coexist comfortably

These parents look down on vernacular education because going to an English-medium school has become a status symbol. They assume that a child who studies in English will automatically have a good career. Many parents feel that if their children study in vernacular mediums, they are at a disadvantage in various competitive exams, studying abroad and choosing careers.

Agreeing that learning languages at a young age strengthens new networks in the brain, Lina Asher, founder of Kangaroo Kids Education Limited said most kids today are more comfortable speaking English than their mother-tongue. Teaching in the mother tongue is not a good idea these days because people don’t always remain where they were born. The world is highly connected that it is a global village. In such a situation, children might find the transition to English difficult later.

In an education system riddled with inequities, language can also be an obstacle that comes in the way of learning given the diverse number of languages and dialects in the country and the attendant linguistic chauvinism that politicians are eager to exploit for their own gains. 

Students learning in regional languages do not have the kind of resources they need, as English books. "Knowledge is available only to those who understand English, and initiatives have not come from regional languages for translation. The government has failed to provide quality education in regional languages. In general, schools using regional languages as the medium of instruction have come to be associated with poor quality. These are also schools that have little by way of infrastructure.

Private schools are making huge profits out of the government's failure by luring children by providing English as a medium of instruction.

...
Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru




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