Thursday, 23 June 2016

FB Discussions - English Medium Education

"I know to talk in English, but I don't talk" 
-Supervisor ,VidhyatriBhavan, Gandhi Bazar Bengalooru

ZakeenaSeethi Ghana might have one national language.
Aparna Krishnan We need to manage with many. It is not rocket science to work that out.
KomakkambeduHimakiranAnugula Great, India doesn't have even have one, so it will be easy to do it.
ZakeenaSeethi That means to unite, we need to leaen a common why not english, which might give us the advantage of uniting with the world?
Aparna Krishnan ZakeenaSeethi because my dear, my village children are rooted in their Telugu. And to make English the token is to disadvantage them beyond all imagining. Unless everybody's inherited language (as also every other inherited strength) becomes valid, they will struggle against vast hurdles, and most will fall by the wayside. Welcome to the real world.
Aparna Krishnan Let us face that we cannot give the entire country equally good English training - even if it were considered desirable, which I do not.
Aparna Krishnan Local language strengths exist everywhere.
ZakeenaSeethi I get it. If it is only Telugu they need to learn, I stand with you. But if they also have to learn Hindi along with it, so that they can be at home anywhere in India, I feel learning English is a better deal
Aparna Krishnan Hindi or English will handicap. Let each state have its language as the main. we will work out ways of communication - without disadvantaging either the Telugu village child or the Oriya village child.
ZakeenaSeethi The problem I face in teaching a new language in schools is that they give too much importance to the methods, definitions, grammar n spellings. Thus making it a subject instead of a medium.I feel if we could bring to place an interesting method to teach languages, it will not be so difficult.
Aparna Krishnan I'm talking of the essential need to make local languages primary. For one thing local culture and paradigms are also best captured in the mother tongue. After that more languages can be learnt, and yes, pedagogy needs to be understood.
KomakkambeduHimakiranAnugula The great Annadurai said in Parliament, I have 2 dogs, one big and 1 small. I will not build 2 doors for them in my house. One big door will be enough for them. Similarly, we don't need Hindi for India and English for the world. If everyone learns English that's good enough.
Of course he was referring to learning English as a second language and not medium of instruction.
RamananJagannathan The second language should be introduced at 6th standard and fill that time , education should be in ones mother tongue . There will sure be exceptions for this , but has to be handled accordingly - people with transferable jobs or people who study in a state where the medium of instruction is not ones mother tongue .
Vipin Sharma Ghana by eliminating English as a medium of education has taken a step backwards, look at China, they regret not having a large English understanding/speaking population because they missed the opportunity of providing IT services to the whole world an...See More
Mohammad Chappalwala even after learning english we have poor infrastructure and corruption, i cant understand this?
Aparna Krishnan smile emoticon  
RamananJagannathan There is a difference between thinking in a language and using that for communication . The language for thinking should be the mother tongue . English or any language can be used as a language to communicate to people who know English . Even today I do my mental math in Tamil and not English smile emoticon BTW, the comparison with China looks at one aspect of what a person or country can do and to be more specific , being the back office . Look at the number of Nobel laureates and papers published out of China and we will clearly understand what mother tongue education can do . Einstein was educated in German , his mother tongue and so was the case with most of the folks who contributed to the advance of science/ physics  
RamananJagannathan We have to be concerned as a country in producing intellectual capital and mother tongue education is the best way to go about it .
SriramNaganathan I don't want to get into this debate on FB as it is most people have no clue about the reality in India, across many states, according to me. So I would run into rough weather. Lots is being worked on, away from the limelight, across India. Anyways, my two cents: 1. English cannot be eliminated as it has become the aspirational language of millions of the oppressed classes - the new 'devabhashaa'. This is reality. If you have doubts, go to the any state in Indo-Gangetic plains, go to villages, towns, anywhere and see it for yourself. So let's not talk of impossibility. Dalits across India will rise against any move to ban English. Forget it. 2. As for 'home languages' (mother tongue is an outdated term), in government schools in Delhi, there are as many as 11 languages in a class. Ditto Mumbai. And am sure Bangalore is catching up. As India gets increasingly urbanized, whether you like it or not, and workers keep migrating (Do you remember seeing people from Northeast in Chennai about 20 years ago? Now, tell me one restaurant where they aren't there), the language situation in classrooms will get more and more complex and teachers have to figure how to get children to learn from each other, etc. Again, lots of pedagogical techniques and practices are being implemented across many states, in schools where marginalized children go to. We can all contribute meaningfully: e.g, to go brick kilns in Chengleput District that employ families from Odisha, enquire about what their children learn, see if language is an impediment in accessing schools (it may or may not be, but they certainly don't have money for high cost private education), and see how you can help them. I think we should not be judgemental here. We can try and offer them whatever they want instead of lecturing them on the merits of home language learning.
Aparna Krishnan SriramNaganathan, I agree with the reality and aspirations. I also agree that we need to address them honestly. But I also belive that choices are manufactured. And unless we move towards a different paradigm where all languages and all skills are valued, equality in any sense will stay a mirage.
SriramNaganathan Well, learning English is more a hierarchical issue in India now rather than a language issue. Preventing access to learning English, or learning itself, is perhaps an effort to maintain the status quo of the English-educated middle class.
Aparna Krishnan You really this so ? smile emoticon That my questions on English supremacy are acuted by that fear ?
SriramNaganathan Aparna: I don't know what your motives are. You should know what drives you. But in general, anyone who knows his or her English but advocates that marginalized sections need not learn it, is a hypocrite. Leave the decision to the marginalized. That is my view.
Aparna Krishnan (via Bhanudas More )

Bhanudas More I think you will also agree that the British used the English language with remarkable success for strengthening their imperial hold on our country. Now, which language in your opinion would their successors, the present rulers of India, choose to strengthen their own domination? 

Rashtrabhasha Hindi? By heavens, no. My hunch is that their interests too are served by English and English alone. But since they have to keep up a show of patriotism they make a lot of noise about Rashtrabhasha Hindi so that the mind of the public remains diverted.

Men of property may believe in a thousand different gods, but they worship only one – the God of profit. From the point of view of profit the advantages of retaining English to the capitalist class in this period of rapid industrialisation and technological revolution are obvious. But the social advantages are even greater. From that point of view English is a God-sent gift to our ruling classes.
Why? For the simple reason that the English language is beyond the reach of the toiling millions of our country. In olden times Sanskrit and Persian were beyond the reach of the toiling masses. That is why the rulers of those times had given them the status of state language. Through Sanskrit and Persian the masses were made to feel ignorant, inferior, uncivilised, and unfit to rule themselves. Sanskrit and Persian helped to enslave their minds, and when the mind is enslaved bondage is eternal.
It suits our present ruling classes to preserve and maintain the social order that they have inherited from the British. They have a privileged position; but they cannot admit it openly. That is why a lot of hoo-haw is made about Hindi as the Rashtrabhasha. They know very well that this Sanskrit-laden, artificial language, deprived of all modern scientific and technical terms, is too weak and insipid to challenge the supremacy of English. It will always remain a show piece, and what is more, a convenient tool to keep the masses fighting among themselves. We film people get a regular flow of fan mail from young people studying in schools and colleges. I get my share of it and these letters reveal quite clearly what a storehouse of torture the English language is to the vast majority of Indian students. How abysmally low the levels of teaching and learning have reached! That is why, I am told preferential treatment is being given to boys and girls who come from public schools i.e. schools to which only the children of privileged classes can go.

It is not necessary for me to comment on the efforts being made to strengthen English in every sphere of life, despite assurances to the contrary. They are all too obvious. It is admitted that English is too alien and hence too difficult to learn for the average Indian. And yet, it helps the capitalists and industrialists to consolidate their position on an all-India scale. That one consideration is more important than any other. According to them whatever serves their interest automatically serves national interest too. They are hopeful that in the not too distant future the people themselves will endorse their stand – that English should retain its present status for ever.

 KomakkambeduHimakiranAnugula Let's throw Hindi out of non Hindi states first. It's such a drain on all of us.
Secondly, we advocate local language medium which for the majority will be mother tongue. Reason why local language develops the kids best is because that's the language their environment is in. For linguistic minorities, their language can be taught as 3rd language instead of forcing Hindi or Sanskrit on them.
As for migration, Europe sees a lot of migrants, we don't find anyone talking about English medium being the best there as its a global language. Only in India, people who know Hindi and or English defend them at the cost of local language.
KomakkambeduHimakiranAnugula It's proven that kids who learn in local language pick up additional languages better, gain knowledge and creativity better.
Heck, every single scientist worth his name in India has been educated in mother tongue or local language medium. They also know English.
Many people use the "we are depriving them of English" argument. Fair enough, but what has that English helped them with? We force English medium on them apart for education that stifles the mind and then we declare them as unemployable!
Aparna Krishnan KomakkambeduHimakiranAnugula you must have tirelessly posted these reasons a 1000 times across different walls even since I started following the thread. Somehow the conviction that English-fying every village child is the road to their future success seems so deeply internalized in my colonized country, that sometimes it all seems rather pointless.
KomakkambeduHimakiranAnugula We have to do what we have to do. When the guy who put India in the Mars orbit says mother tongue education is what made him reach the stars, we don't take count his voice, that is the elitism which is a problem here. Only people who have had education...
Aparna Krishnan Our inherited power in English is made the criterion. Our inherited skills of reading writing are made the criteria. Everyone from every other strength of language or skill has to start climbing our ladder, We are at the top, and they can try scrambling up and their children can be clerks to our children. We will however kindly lend them a hand up our ladder. If people cannot see through this subconcsious plan of ours, and rage against this ultimate caste system we are establishing with English and ModernSchooling as the indicators, there is little we can say.
Aparna Krishnan Sriram, unless Telugu is given the same valuation in this country as English is my village children stand no chance. On their turf they can fight, not on my turf of English. The field has to change. Till then, with a sense of failure, I do 'teach them English', preparing them to be also rans on my turf.  
PalaniveluRangasamy If the disadvantaged are not able to undetstand the nuances of the weapons used against them, it is just impossible for them to have control over their destiny. Language is one of those weapons.
  Rahul Banerjee Its a question of having good teachers. Its easier to get teachers with some proficiency in the vernacular languages than in english. Presently the standard of teaching in the vernacular is itself abysmal and that in english even worse. Apart from a few expensive private schools, nowhere is english being taught properly.
Aparna Krishnan At the very practical level, yes. The government schools in Chittoor have aEnglishMedium section. It is left to everyone's imagination what that would mean. English cannot be 'reached to the masses' in any realistic way despite all NGO pedagogies. Point 1.
Aparna Krishnan Point 2. I am rather glad about that. Because when we 'empower' by granting the dominant structure to local communities, we disempower in very deep seated ways by making them look up to that language or skill, and simultaneously look down on their languages, their skills, and on themselves. And that is the beginning of the end.

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