New education policy 2020: NEP 2020: Mother tongue can be the medium of instruction, but English must remain
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With Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ reiterating that the government is not against English but wants to strengthen the Indian languages, the question of whether the mother tongue is the best medium of instruction for teaching elementary school children has been routinely making the rounds . “Those who question the usefulness of using the mother tongue as an educational medium would say that some of the most developed countries have had great success with it. We are not against the English language, but we want to strengthen the Indian languages, ”Pokhriyal said at the Atma Nirbhar Madhya Pradesh webinar.

Clarification by the minister comes after the publication of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, in which the center has proposed to provide education up to grade V and preferably up to grade VIII in the native language of the students or in the local or regional language, where this is always possible. Classical languages ​​such as Sanskrit have also been suggested at all levels, while foreign languages ​​are offered at secondary level.

Parents, teachers and school administrators are the three main drivers of children’s education, according to Shailendra Sharma, Chief Advisor to Director Education of the Delhi Government. “The success of NEP 2020 depends on the partnership between these three (stakeholders) on all major issues, including the choice of language. In Delhi, as in many other states, there are schools that are run by different managements and with different teaching media. So far, the choice of medium has been made for sociological rather than educational reasons. But the three must now understand and communicate honestly with each other that the “medium of instruction” is different from “learning a language” itself. ”

Sharma believes that the medium of instruction should be in the mother tongue during the apprenticeship years as it has been scientifically proven to be a better option for children. “By creating a solid language-learning architecture that includes listening, speaking, reading and writing fluently in each of the three languages ​​that states are authorized to teach, schools could convince parents that their child is not will be left behind. ”

Sayantan Dasgupta, Head of the Comparative Literature Department at Jadavpur University, elaborated on the issue, stating that it is a workable solution as long as the native language is used to provide education without affecting students’ understanding of the English language . “English should be allowed to coexist from first grade onwards as it is a means by which students can gain global access.”

In fact, it is not only the mother tongue but also the literary edition in the other languages ​​that needs to be highlighted in our educational system, he adds. “Students should be introduced to the rich literary and cultural heritage of India, which exists in many Indian ‘Bhasahas’ – about 22 official languages ​​and over 600 unofficial ones.” Dasgupta also calls for the need to translate textbooks and resource materials into regional languages ​​so that students can access the variety of Indian languages ​​and books in their mother tongue.

When it comes to whether the transition to native language is likely to affect teachers who have long been used to teaching English, Dasgupta has a surprising attitude. “It’s about relearning your own language in order to meet the needs of the students. There are places in rural areas where student access to English is so limited that teachers teach Shakespeare in their native language. Since this is the language children speak at home, it will not hinder their academic progress. ”

Allan Anderson, director of the Chaman Bhartiya School in Bangalore, says India’s diversity can make implementation difficult, despite his advocacy of learning in the mother tongue. “The students learn more easily in their mother tongue. However, in a multilingual country like India, this could present a challenge for different states, regional and national languages. ”

He adds: “If a regional language or mother tongue is the medium of instruction, steps must be taken to ensure that English or Hindi is taught at the earliest opportunity. So when both languages ​​(mother tongue and English) are merged, students learn faster without English taking a backseat. ”

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