Introduction: According to the ‘National Education Policy’ 2020, which was launched in July 2020, the mother tongue or local/regional is to be the medium of instruction for students till class 5. Compulsory education in mother tongue sparked debates throughout the country.
Points in Favour:
- Language represents the culture and lifestyle of society. Education is to prepare for life in society. Learning about our culture and other subjects in a foreign language can lead to confusion and lack of clarity.
- The biggest loophole in our education system the rote learning, i.e. byhearting the subjects. Having English as the medium of instruction will worsen the situation.
- There are many English medium schools in India. But most of their teachers have no skills to teach in English, risking the children’s studies.
- A survey by Oxford University revealed that children, who have their mother tongue as medium of instruction outperform the children, who have a foreign language as the medium of instruction.
- Having good command over one language helps a lot in learning other languages. But the children that are having another language as the medium of instruction aren’t getting command either on their mother tongue or on their medium of instruction.
- Switching the medium of instruction in the middle of the school or later may put stress on students.
- As the world is increasingly globalized, children should be taught in the international language, i.e. English. So that they can grab more opportunities.
- English is an official language of India. And most Indians can speak English. So, it’s not a totally new language to us.
The situation in other countries:
- China, Japan, Germany and many other countries are doing very well without English education.
- ‘Philippines’ revised its education system and started to implement the mother tongue as the medium of instruction. And the result is the drastic increase in enrolments in rural areas.
- ‘Guatemala’ witnessed decreased dropouts and increased literacy rates, when it implemented the mother tongue as the medium of instruction. This step reduced their education expenditure.
- ‘Mali’ did the same and witnessed increased creativity and innovative skills in children.
To learn English, it’s not required to learn all the subjects through English. To get a good grip on the subjects and their mother tongue, children should be taught in their mother tongue at least in the primary school level. But the option should be voluntary.