Sunday, January 07, 2007

Education in regional language?

Last night I was watching a TV program 'Education in India' in NDTV profit, where a set of educationalists (in my words arm-chair-activists) were talking about the current education system and the discussion turned to giving education in regional languages. Somehow everyone was glorifying the need of English language and telling there is not much need to stress regional languages. When any state government (recently in Karnataka and Maharashtra) tries to 'impose' a regional language, people start protesting as if they were born with English language. Frankly speaking I am not able to understand the reason behind simply 'aping' the west by embracing English big time.


Speaking from my personal experience, I learned all my education in Tamil till the age of 17 and I was able to understand things much better because it was taught in my 'mother tongue'. But unfortunately for today's parents they derive enormous amount of pleasure and they proudly say 'My son speaks with me only in English and he doesn't even know how to read or write his mother tongue, because it is of no use'. I am not against learning English language but why should we glorify it? Why we can't we try to appreciate strengths of our regional languages?


I got my shock of my life when I got chance to interact with Chinese and Japanese folks. They barely speak good English (whomever I have interacted) and I have seen technical papers written by them with lots of grammar mistakes. Apart from that, ranging from MS windows to mobile phone screen, everything is in their language. My simple question is 'What did they loose by not knowing English? Didn't they demonstrate to the world their excellence in automobile and electronic fields?' . One of my friend was doing his PhD in a French university and he told me that they translate the latest books and journals to French.


As again saying, I am not against learning English. In fact I am writing this blog in English and in my workplace I use English most of the times. Today India is having competitive edge because of its large English speaking population. What I hate is the 'duality' of some people by using some strange accents and showing-off their 'pseudo superiority' of knowing English language.


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7 comments:

Sujai K said...

Jay:
I agree with you once again. I was living in US for almost a decade and my cousins with his kids was in a nearby town. We used to make them learn Indian languages. We had to impose rules to speak Indian language while at home to inculcate our languages into the kids.

When I came back from US, I took up a job in Bangalore. There I met some managers whose kids could not understand or speak any Indian language. When I asked them, they gave the same answer as described your blog. That's unfortunate.

I do not discredit English. But, please do not relegate our regional languages to rural India. One has to be proud of one's origins. And our languages contribute to who we are.

www.marchahead.com said...

Dear Madam,

It was a learning experience for me while going through this write-up.I did the same blunder when I asked my parents to put my younger brother in English medium school.However I had taken care of his Oriya language personally.

I believe when intellectual people like you propagate the message like this,it will be realised in near future.Kudos to your efforts through this blogger.

Regards,

Manas Nayak
Regional Manager,Counselling
IMS Learning Resources Pvt.Ltd
Bhubaneswar-Orissa.
manasanayak@gmail.com
http://marchahead-contributeforahealthyindia.blogspot.com/

Jayakumar Balasubramanian said...

Thanks Sujai and Manas for your comments. I feel mother toungue is an individual's identity and has got much more role to play,which we Indians are not realizing it. I feel really pissed off when I see 'half-baked' english speaking urban people who are not realizing our strength.

trespasser said...

hmmm ...
one more thought. which fits inbetween
'why should i do things in my native language'
and
'why not in english'.
'why should'nt i learn french or german when i'm living in someother part of india and why should i learn the local language there'
situation is familiar ??
Uh ! We Indians .....

Jayakumar Balasubramanian said...

Yes. I agree. In my state people take French as one of the language ignoring the native language just because they can score better marks in that. How can we 'sell' ourselves for getting marks?

giridhar said...

I agree that we should definitely learn our own languages - many are far more matured with their own extensive literature and grammar.

However, when it comes to engineering and medicine (for example) there is no instituion or technical literature / text book in our own languages.

While Japanese, German, French, etc., have just one language thro which all their education is done, don't you think it will be extremely difficult to have such education with so many languages that we have in India?

How do we go about that?

Jayakumar Balasubramanian said...

I am not *for* to have higher technical or professional education in regional language as it would not position an individual well in today's world. My point is to stress the point that every individual 'should' learn the regional/vernacular language.

In India it is very difficult to implement what Chinese or Japanese have done because we are so much diversified.