Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint
Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint
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One aspect of the Modi government’s National Education Policy (NEP) has caused some consternation and debate. It is the prescription that children hereon should be taught in their mother tongue, regional language, or home language (whatever that means) up to class 5, and preferably until class 8.

The critics say this is the RSS agenda of Hindi-isation. The defenders say the children comprehend much better in their native tongues. In any case, they argue that this is only a recommendation and not a compulsion.

But, it is the first national education policy being implemented by a government of the nationalist Hindu Right with a full majority. Compulsion wouldn’t have been possible under the current constitutional scheme of things. Education is a concurrent subject. But then, a majority of Indian states, especially some of the most important states, are also being governed by the same party, the BJP.

On balance, the drift is clear. Compulsion or not, the cue is to pivot to domestic languages instead of English. The three-language formula in the NEP also says any three, as long as two are Indian. The implication is that English is foreign. We would have thought that silly definitions like that are employed by sillier Americans, who want their foreign students to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language, the famed TOEFL. Never mind that they themselves usually can’t even spell right.

English is now an international language, often with distinct versions in different countries. In India, we have variants from north to south, east to west, from King’s English to Singh’s English.

If the cue from the Modi government towards Hindi or native-language medium is clear enough, chances are that most state governments will fall in line. Their own schools won’t dare defy this. They might decree something like this for private recognised schools too.

People will again find a way to cut corners: Nobody, not even the strongest state, can fight market forces. And if consumers want something as badly as Indian parents want English-medium for their children, they will get it. You might also then bring back the mystique of the minority institution, the proverbial convent, now so synonymous with English-medium education in most of India that you can find “convents” all over the country, named after numerous non-Christian saints such as Kabir, Tukaram, even Ravidas.

If you think the Modi government is doing it for political gain, it doesn’t pass a fact-check. Because, over the decades, our politicians have known what works and what doesn’t. They know their voters want English-medium. So, they might say one thing in public but do the opposite in reality.


Also read: The mother tongue fanatics are keeping India a poor, backward country


Ideological compulsions apart, if there is one thing our politicians, especially those with their ear to the ground, or, as we say in the heartland idiom, ‘dharti se judey huye’, understand, it is the reality that their voters want three things from their children’s schooling: English, English, English.

Over the past 25 years, I have learnt ground-level politics by travelling deep through the states during elections, and compiling a series called ‘Writings on the Wall’. This is a metaphor for looking around you, eyes, ears and (the reporter’s) nose open, to figure out what it is that people want. Then you see what it is that rival political contenders are offering them. One who aligns with what the ‘janata’ want according to the writings on the wall, wins. If you get this right, you can’t read an election wrong. Unless, of course, you even read the walls with your own predilections or what, again, in the heartland, would be called poorvagrah. This should also establish my credentials as a native Hindi speaker.

It is on the walls where we first read this message of rising aspiration. Especially in the two Bihar elections (the first was indecisive) of 2005. Lalu had been in power with his backward caste-Muslim vote bank and nobody gave Nitish Kumar a chance to throw him out.

Lalu’s idea of social justice was still caste-equity, empowerment to fight the upper castes. His favourite idiom was: Phir se samay aa gaya hai, apni laathi ko tel pilao (the time has come again to season your sticks with oil). This one, said the pundits, still had such oomph that Nitish stood no chance. Especially with his ‘namby pamby’ counter: “The time when you could be empowered by seasoning your lathis with oil is over. Now you empower yourselves by filling your pens with ink.”

The ‘gyanis’ might have laughed at him. But Nitish had the last laugh. He defeated Lalu, and has been chief minister since. Nitish won and keeps winning because he read the pulse of his people right. There was a new flood of aspiration and it needed the fuel of education. But, then, you can ask me, what does it have to do with the medium of instruction?

Which makes us leapfrog to another ‘Writings on the Wall’ tutorial (for me), in the West Bengal campaign, 2011. As with Nitish versus Lalu in Bihar in 2005, now Mamata Banerjee was the David challenging the Goliath in the Left Front, entrenched for 34 years.


Also read: India’s New Education Policy takes the bullet out of the old, Russian roulette-like system


We caught up with Mamata Banerjee on the campaign trail at a place called Barjora near Durgapur, with its steel plant the Jamshedpur-lite of the desperately poor region of West Bengal. She strode left to right and back on the stage, holding the microphone and, at one high point, started what looked like a rhyme. It got the crowds super-excited.

It went something like ‘Aw-e ajgar aashche tere’, and the crowd would respond with a full-throated chant: ‘Aa- aamti khaabo pere’. Loosely translated, it means, A, or the Bangla equivalent, is for ajgar (python), which is coming after you, ‘aa’ is for aam (mango), which you pluck from the tree and eat. But what was the excitement about? Why did it drive that crowd, thousands of the poorest Indians, delirious?

She was reminding them that for decades, the Left Front had condemned their generations to Bengali-medium education while their own children went to English-medium schools and sang ‘twinkle, twinkle little star…’. The result, she said, was that while your children were begging for peons’ jobs, the comrades’ children were going to England and becoming barristers.

We know what happened in that election. Mamata is still in power; the Left is the last of her worries, actually.

Here are two leaders with their ear to the ground. One swept an election promising knowledge and education. The other specified it would be in English medium. Their voters did not come from any entrenched social elites. Those types mostly don’t even go out to vote. Check out the voting percentages in Mumbai’s Malabar Hill.

And since we live by the three-example rule, I will give you one more and then rest my case. Especially as our three examples would be all from different parties and ideologies. Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh passed orders in 2017 to turn 5,000 (yes, 5,000) government primary schools into English medium, so his state could have at least one in each block. Is Yogi elite? English-obsessed? Westernised? A brown sahib?

He is, on the other hand, a saffron-clad priest. But he is dharti se juda hua. He knows what his voters want. That is the wall this NEP will run into if ideology drives this government to push that native language-medium idea too strongly.


Also read: Modi-Shah’s poison has met its match in Mamata Banerjee’s poison


 

 

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85 Comments Share Your Views

85 COMMENTS

  1. First, I am not Indian though I have visited India many times and know many Indian nationals where I work in KSA. I am very fond of India and her people. I also have a masters in linguistics. Do you want to kill Indian languages? The beautiful Dravidian languages with centuries of literature embodying your culture? Then switch to English medium education. Look at the example of Ireland. Why do they not speak Irish? Why is Irish a dead language? English medium instruction. Why do immigrants to the U.S.A. lose their mother tongues in a generation or two? English medium schools. I see Indians in the Emirates or even in India speaking to their children in English. You are a worse enemy to your culture than the British ever were. Please I ask all Indians, keep at least elementary education in your mother tongues, or in 100-150 years Indian will be an English speaking country.

  2. I can see lot of amazing set of people here can write an eloquent piece of English, and I’m sure that each one of you must have attended good English medium schools, barring few, who might have struggled during school days, but any how landed up at some standard. Ladies and Gentlemen, few points from my side:
    (1) This country was in 552 riyasat prior independence, who had different set of languages, customs, diets, living styles etc.
    (2) We have 22 official languages available with us, lets start think about to learn these languages through out the country, put option in front of kids to learn any 22 official language ( I’m damn sure this is possible), this will create an interstate camaraderie, good for govt officials especially law enforcement employees.
    (3) People who are good in English , don’t have any right to tell upcoming generation that don’t focus on English ( those people are sheer hypocrites, do not bother about them)
    (4) Do whatever you can, parents will put their kids into English-Medium Schools ( The way present generation has started working at MNCs , Im sure none of the Hindi medium parent would like to miss it, and they will definitely gonna put their kinds in English-Medium School for better advancement.
    (5) As an additional Interest, students can read regional texts, Like we use to read sankshipt Ramayan (Class VI) and sankshipt Mahabharat (Class Viii).

    Rest everything is sheer marketing, don’t get diverted, let everyone get education, that should be the mantra, weather brahmin, shatriya, shudra or vaishya , or any other religion be it Islam, buddhism, jainism, sikhism etc. aim is to provide education through which a kid can contribute to society through confidence, logic and empathy.

  3. Only you people wants this. MC Machle had made English medium only to make us their slaves and to teach us that they and their authors scientists mathematicians are Great. Besides them there is no one talented in this world were their moto. Sanskrut is a Great language and this is a same on us we know English but we even don’t want to listen Sanskrut. Every temple even Tejo Mahalaya has efficient work only due to sanskrut because every mechanics are written in Sanskrut.
    Our Sanskrut is not Limited only to A Language only. It’s a ocean of knowledge.
    But people like you THE PRINT always wants to be a slave of the Fair People.
    It’s due to you people Pythagoras is highlighted but not Ramanujan.
    We also want a corrected History not today’s biased History where every Black Matters are hidden and that are written as Hindu Birodhi. If you today want to be a English medium Bhad Me Jao.

  4. The argument that people want English based education is true to the extent that people observe that those educated in English medium today have both better employment outcomes and higher wages. Thus, people naturally express a desire for English medium education as they assume it will translate into better outcomes for them.

    However, the contention that English medium education is the best way to achieve it is unsupported by existing pedagogical research. All existing evidence, including a body of my own work (see blog post summarizing our work “https://www.ideasforindia.in/topics/human-development/language-and-development.html” and publications titled “Language Policy and Human Development” and “The Legacy of Colonial Language Policies and its Impact on Student Learning: Evidence from an Experimental Program in Cameroon” available at ” https://sites.google.com/site/ramachandranecon/research/publications and a blog post summarizing the research ) points to the fact that learning in a language that is the language of everyday social interaction and complementing it with strong instruction in the desired language, English here, as a subject would be a much better strategy to impart English language skills.

    The route being promoted by this article is identical to the one that most of sub-Saharan Africa has followed with disastrous consequences for student learning. There is need for evidence based research and debate to help guide the discussion and policy.

  5. THIS ESSAY COMPLETELY REFLCT S THE VIEWS OF TAMIL NADU. 49.5% OF TAMIL PEOPLE HAVE
    LEARND TO WRITE AND READ TAMIL AND ENGLISH

  6. Here are some ‘Hindu nationalist’ ministers who sent their children abroad for English education : Smriti Irani, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Bahman Seetharamam, Javedkar, Jaishankar…

    Duplicity is their innate character.

    True, their chai wallah and chowkidar did not study abroad. But he claims a MA in All Political Science and has a forged degree ! He is uneducated in any language. He claims Hindus did plastic surgery and Ganesha is the proof. And Hindus see wonders in a NEP from such a person.

  7. Shekhar what you put forth is the perfect Scenerio.It would be difficult again to about turn & go back to past,Still Reseacher don’t able to find Time capsule. Why & What for Central govt . doing this,unable to understand.Because three language formula which is still fully functioning ,i.e. still not workable in in the stateS of South India.My experience so far as Kerala is concerned the don’t speak or answer if you try speak in Hindi.
    Now a days almost all the the people or parent want to admit their kids in CBSE/ ICSE or Convent English medium schools.Even In Taluka or Cities having population more than 10,000 have English Medium Schools.The importance they want give ancient languages like Sanskrit, Pali or same others is good.
    They want no Board examinations or to lessen their importance won’t be accepted or also workable ,because when RTE2009 declared no examination upto std VIIIth, The HRD Ministry took about turn .
    To give autonomy to Universities & to approve foreign industries or corporate investors, the importance will not work because how far they will not upsurge quality ofEdn.
    To increase the Education budget upto 6% of the total GDP, because somany Govts before this declared this but it’s never done.
    One more issue is according to 73rd constitution coloum, Edn is brought in Concurrent list of states & Centre ,but why they were not consulted.

  8. The newest kitten on the block is VINODH KUMAR (https://www.youtube.com/c/StringReveals/videos). Idiots like Vinodh Kumar could easily be brainwashed into Aryanism. This is the pitiable state of our youngsters today. We wonder why this dusky young Dravidian is eager to pretend to be an Aryan – following Aryan customs, following Aryan traditions, following Aryan mannerisms and what not! Will the Brahmin-loving Aryans accept him into their fold ? He says, people have to wear a wet silk cloth while consuming food and yet he continues to wear Jeans and T-shirt. What a hypocrite! A well-educated blue-collared employee like Vinodh Kumar is forced to make a living publishing YouTube videos in favour of those who have been destroying his ancestors for the past 5000 years. He doesn’t realise that he lost his job because of the BJP’s ill-informed economic policies. How blindly he praises the Aryans and their culture ! How shamelessly he panders to the Aryan propaganda !
    Ask him who invaded the indigenous Dravidians of India.
    Ask him who ravaged the indigenous Dravidians of India.
    Ask him who plundered the wealth of the indigenous Dravidians of India.
    Ask him who coveted all their lands.
    Ask him who made them slaves in their own land.
    Ask him who converted them into Vaishyas and Sudras and continued to torture them for 3000 years.
    Ask him who is still continuing to destroy the Dravidians of India.
    Does he know how rich the Dravidians of India were, before the wicked Aryans arrived ?
    Look how ill-informed the youngsters of India are today. Young Dravidians like Vinodh Kumar are eager to sell their Dravidian birthright to the wicked Aryans for a paltry sum of money. Just take a look at his Paypal account (https://paypal.me/mvinodhkumar). In his anxiety to prove that “Modi is not for sale”, he has unwittingly proved that DRAVIDIANS ARE FOR SALE. What an a$$h0le!

    Gullible donkeys like Vinodh Kumar have been brainwashed very effectively such that they cannot even distinguish between HINDUTVA and mainstream-HINDUISM. ‘Hindutva’ was a propaganda instituted by the RSS and they used the wagon of “Hinduism” to further their propaganda. This was how, many Hindus got fooled. This was how, many young Hindus got sucked into “Saffron Terror”. ‘Saffron Terror’ is a byproduct of “Hindutva”. ‘Hindutva’ is being projected as “true Hinduism” when in fact it is not so. It is well established that ‘Hindutva’ is an RSS-Brahmin product. Did you ever notice that all leaders of RSS Kendras throughout the country are Brahmins? Look how RSS-Brahmins have fooled the entire country!

    Source: https://pastebin.com/LTGg5aWz

  9. What a colonial white man’s point of view. These editors serve their white masters and have lost touch with the local grassroots. China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Arab world, Germany, France and Latin America do not have the English medium.

    • Rubbish!……all the countries you have mentioned have English medium schools….why are you propagating false information like those brainless SANGHIS ??

      • The medium of instruction in most schools in the countries I highlighted is in the native language, not English. Get your facts right!

        • Yes, but those countries are not comparable with India. They are homogeneous, single-language countries, so they can teach standards 1-5 in their native language, and all now teach English as the only extra language.

          India is a multi lingual country, so if you choose one language over another, there will be rebellion and break up of the country.

          India has only two choices (1) accept English as the all-India uniting language or (2) keep Hindi as the uniting language in the cow belt, and accept southern states seceding from India.

          The demand to replace English is from Hindi speaking Hindus of northern India, who imagine they own India. In 1962 when the issue came up, TN proposed seceding from India and forming a Dravidastan of the 4 southern states. With the BJP’s rule, eventually that will come.

          • India is a continent (sub-continent) as much as it is a country. The state of UP alone is size of Japan twice over. Teaching people there in Hindi would have no effect on people in Tamil Nadu who would be learning in Tamil, for example. The idea that a country that is 1.5 times bigger than Europe would need one language to “unite” when you yourself have admitted that it is a “multilingual country” is not only misguided, but is counterproductive.

            This is not to mention that the so-called “English speakers” in India speak putrid English. Apart from the Shashi Tharoors and Swapan Dasguptas of India (of which there are only in the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands), everyone else’s English is awful. Yes, even Karan Thapar makes some pronunciation mistakes. This forced English medium has resulted in gems such as Hinglish, where people who speak “Hindi” say stuff like “Main use like karti hun”. Apparently “native” language speakers can’t even find the word for “like” in their native languages anymore.

            All of this has reached such a fever pitch that now instead of correcting people’s English, people accept that the horrible English and Indian accent is a “cute” idiosyncrasy of India, an “invention” even that India has to give to the rest of the world. And what’s more, people are now defending abominations such as Hinglish, Benglish, Tenglish, etc. as “languages” in their own right, and as points of pride.

            But yes, let’s keep going down this path. We will become a superpower by 2024 if we just keep at it.

  10. Only the Hindus voted for the BJP. Let them learn slokas and Ramayana. Fill their heads with gobar. Let other communities do education in English.

  11. Author of calibre of Shekhar Gupta disappointed with very poor analysis. First of all there is no debate that NEP is required. Clearly there is no restriction on English however just to paint something with political colour he stretches argument to “writing on wall’.

    Author is expected to research interviews of Mr. Kasturirangan Chairman of drafting committee to understand reasoning and freedom in choice of langauge.

  12. Indian voters want English-medium education… that’s a surprise headline and a sad one … and more so as it comes from SG, who understands the ground better than most other city journos. Indian voters want jobs; and education that will get them there. There is a sure bias towards English in the jobs market… it’s time to shed this… time to stop equating English with quality or English with knowledge. It’s the pressure created by the market and social dynamics.

  13. This ” we want education in mother tongue” is the blabbering if the elite. India is not a homogenous country like the European
    or latin american nations. There are different languages. So English gives the equal platform to all.
    And no, studying English just as a language does not give one the proficiency easily. So the ones with the social capital would be better and the rest would be left out. Also those from the non hindi speaking states may face disadvantage as most recruitments are being centralised and people have more often than not just 2 language options in the qualifying exams/ interviews – Hindi/ english.
    This doesnt seem to be driven by votes, but more by ideology and eagerness to shift towards ” one everything” model.

  14. For once I agree with Shekhar Gupta — even after discounting his self-proclaimed ear to the ground forays across India.

    Almost all commenters to SG’s article here have lost the plot.

    Like it or not, India has just too many languages. We are not Japan, Korea, China, France or Germany — one country, one language.

    Why medium of instruction should be in English?

    First, simple reason that the information available in English is far far more and easily available. And the sheer acope. Try translating this vast ocean into 28/280 desi languages.

    Second, the hypocrisy of our politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen……any successful person — all of them send their kids to “English medium” schools.

    For Dalits and backward classes, vernacular education will seal your fate forever…”hewers of wood and drawers of water”. No “knowledge economy” jobs for your kids.

    Third, the NEP is a Brahmin/upper caste plot. And if the RSS had anything to do with it — then all the more reason to avoid it. The RSS types are the most obscurantist elements one can come across…..devoid of any IQ or sense of national strategy and regeneration.

    Fourt, with NEP India will never be able to make Rafale jets, only imaginary ancient UDAN KHATOLAS. No vaccines or therapeutics for any disease….only CORONIL!!

    • Only lazy minds would think that India will never be able to make Rafale jets”. Patriot and sharp minds of emerging new India think that they will make the best fighter jets, much better than Rafale. Clearly the future India is not for lazy minds. They should leave India and immigrate to their dream countries. Let the patriots develop India to lead the world.

      • The future of India is gobar filled heads, cow vigilantes and rapists, concentration camps and civil wars orchestrated by RSS. It is not compatible with making Rafales.

    • ‘Third, the NEP is a Brahmin/upper caste plot. And if the RSS had anything to do with it — then all the more reason to avoid it. The RSS types are the most obscurantist elements one can come across…..devoid of any IQ or sense of national strategy and regeneration.’

      Kancha Illaiah explained this when Murali Manohar Joshi tried to push the same during Vajpayee’s era. Please see my post below.

  15. It’s a bit unfair to state the entire policy as “out of touch” … just for the sake of 2 lines in the entire policy document. Even those three lines is a kind of advisory and not mandatory. It clearly starts with “wherever possible” and ends with “wherever possible”.

    “Wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language/mother tongue/local language/regional language. Thereafter, the home/local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible.”

    Overall, the policy is a good document and as expressed by many we have to see how this policy gets translated into actual execution.

  16. The legislation stems from the ulterior plan of the Sangh to promote the caste system. The less well off avarnas will have to send their children to govt. school and their minds will be duly filled with Ramayana and other gobar form standards 1-5, in Hindi or the local language. By the time they learn English, they will be set back, compared with the swarnas who will send their children to private English medium schools right from standard 1.

    The swarnas thereby will have all the jobs in the private sector, and the avarnas will be taken out of the competition. The avarnas job is to serviteurs to the swarnas, as prescribed by the dharma. The swarnas believe India runs according to dharma, not English notions like equal rights and opportunities. In their mind, English education and the notions it brings undermines dharma and India. Hence, this move.

    All the top ‘Hindu nationalists’ sent their children to English schools. Advani went to convent school. Sushma Swaraj had her daughter educated abroad.

  17. U dirty news channel. First try to support government good initiative. Instead don’t try to play Ur dirty politics here

  18. India may be the only country in the world where people are devoted more to foreign languages than their mother tongue.

    • Yes, that is being practical (if one wants full potential to be exploited, on employability).
      All Indians are devoted to their mother tongue; however, what is the probability of him/her getting employed?
      Also, one gets restricted to one state only where his/her mother tongue is the State Language!!
      India has 30 states with more than a dozen languages scheduled as Official Languages.
      It is the familiarity of English language that made India an IT source (and that in turn big earner of foreign exchange).
      India cannot afford to ignore English! Period!

      • Yes, because the 95% of the population that never moves more than 100 km from where they were born would find that they’ve been “restricted” by the lack of the state having taught them Physics, Chemistry, etc. in a language that they don’t understand. While your points are logically sound, they don’t go one step beyond to base themselves on the reality on the ground.

        India is a continent (it’s called a sub-continent for a reason). Like the EU, every state in India is more like a country (and definitely is if you look at it in population terms). The medium of instruction should be the native language in every state all the way up to (and even beyond) tertiary education. Sure, learn English, but only in the same way someone would learn French, Dutch, or Spanish.

        It’s absolutely asinine to force a medium of instruction on the 95% as an insurance policy in the off chance that someone from the 5% might move to a different state. And even then, there’s nothing wrong with learning that state’s language, as it already happens in Europe on a daily basis. Hell, even a country as tiny as Switzerland has 4 official languages, none of which are English! I don’t think many people complain about Switzerland’s backwardness or inability to become an “IT source” (the WWW was invented at CERN, which is based in Switzerland).

        Mind you, India is an IT source insofar as it’s a back-office place where, frankly, code of horrible quality is produced to simply “get the job done”. I can promise you that a large majority of people in the West curse under their breath when they have to deal with an Indian (usually passing themself off a Westerner) on the phone because of their horrible English. I can even point out many grammatical mistakes in your comment. Being half-familiar with a language to become essentially back-office workers of very poor quality and touting that as a point of pride or practicality, a great country does not make. Let’s get real.

        It’s high time we accept the fact that it’s a fool’s errand to try to convert 1+ billion people to speak a language very few understand (less than 10% of India) or are fluent in (less than 1%) in comparison to translating a few thousand books into the native languages, and let that knowledge loose onto 1+ billion critically thinking, understanding, researching, innovating people.

    • Because India is the only country where so many well developed and in use languages are there.
      This is like those who have reached the shore taking away the boat saying ” its better there, stay there”

  19. DEAR SG, if there was question to write an essay on new Education policy in matriculation examination ., by writing this article in response to that question you would have been awarded only 2/20 marks. NEP is a about more than 30 important [points. you choose to write on on one point only –Medium of instruction in primary classes only. Lutyn Media is against Hindi language , Modi Government , BJP is axiomatic truth . Keep on .why are You only down grading your portal s image by selective writing ? Expand your horizon , see big picture . Pettiness never pays in long run.

  20. Coming from Shekhar Gupta, the compulsive critic of Modi govt this article is just criticism for the sake of it, no real substance in the argument. It has been proved beyond doubt that children learn and pick up subjects easily when explained in their mother tongue rather than english with which they are not at ease in their grooming years. Great scientists like Raghunath Mashelkar, Abdul Kalam were products of english medium schools. They studied in government run schools in their respective states where their own mother tongue was the medium of instruction. Yes, english is a language which binds the world and one needs to be proficient in it to progress but its not that if you aren’t educated in english achool you have lesser merit. This argument is wholly unfounded. And NEP has given a choice to students. It doesnt say no yo english medium schools. There are good english medium schools which are thriving and they too produce good students but that doesn’t make education in ones own language inferior. And most opinion makers have appreciated this policy but perhaps Shekhar has its own compulsions in criticising it.

  21. I wouldn’t expect anything else from a Lutyens journalist whose only claim to fame is probably his polished English! Whilst all Indians need to speak English we must speak our mother tongue with pride! We must remember that the Japs, Chinese, Germans and French didn’t become great countries by speaking a foreign language!

  22. If people prefer English Medium of Education, let them spend on their own to obtain English Education

    This is India – with several Regional Languages & Hindi as the Link Language.

    Education, Learning should be in one’s own Mother Tongue. Then only Children can effectively learn the Subject.

    • ‘If people prefer English Medium of Education, let them spend on their own to obtain English Education’

      That is the RSS plan. The Brahmins and swarnas like you will be allowed to send your children to private English medium from standard 1.

      The avarnas have to go to govt. school and wait till 6 standard before they learn A, B, C….They do not have the money to ‘spend on their own to obtain English Education’. Perhaps your Brahmin brain overlooked that not everyone is born with a golden spoon in the mouth like you.

      When both reach college, it will be all in English. The swarnas will be fluent, the avarnas will struggle. Then the avarnas will not be in competition with you in the private job sector.

      It is all rigged up for you Brahmin – you did not understand ? Or are you feigning innocence ?

  23. For students at young age to build thinking skills and for easy comprehension language is very important. So when a student learns an unfamiliar language it makes the thinking process and understanding difficult. Also research supports early education in mother tongue.
    Thanks

    • Here in karnataka, we had a choice to study in english medium only from 8th till 10th. Particularly where i studied (a municipal school), about 1 section was for english and about 6-8 sections for kannada medium. No enforcement. Purely based on enrollment, sections were created. This was the trend in every town and city.
      Invariably, all upper caste children were in that one english section.

      Now strangely there was just no kannada medium PU college (10th, 12th) for science stream in the whole state. All government colleges also taught in english. This is where the kannada medium students had a hard time to get along. damani, dhamani are veins and arteries, ingala is carbon, etc

      Is the new policy to take away the english medium of instruction altogether at the high school level?? That would be definitely retrograde as SG is pointing out
      Or is it trying to bring in science and commerce streams beyond high school in local languages. This is easier said than done.

      • Porf. Kancha Illaihag explained this 20 years ago at the time M.M. Joshi attempted something similar during Vajpayee’s time. He said it was Sangh ploy. Let the poor who to govt. school learn in local language because they understand better. But what they will be learning will be tailored towards Ramayana and mythology, and base Hinduism. Don’t give them access to English education till later. With English education comes demand for equality.

        Meanwhile the private sector will be allowed to teach in English from grade 1. That is where invariably, all upper caste children will go.

        But as you say, when they go to college it will be in English, and the ones who learnt English from standard 1 will be better. Hence, the upper castes will corner all the plum jobs.

        The NEP is the Sanghi plan to maintain the cake with the upper castes.

  24. Dear Sir,
    I highly respect your views that voters want English education for jobs in service sector. We have to ask why India produces so few entrepreneurs as a percentage of population than other countries ? Reason is lack of critical thinking skills as student is not able to locate commercial opportunity in the market and lack the self-confidence to put the money behind it. If everybody goes for safe option of serving others then we will continue to have employment crisis and anemic slow growth we had so far.
    Neuroscience research has shown that best way to initiate critical thinking is education in a language at early stage that student is familiar with, in the language he can share his first stupid idea with his mom or dear ones, who will not dismiss the idea, but encourage him and whet his idea.
    Voters desire for English education is driven by fear of getting a job and not by hope of building a leader in field. Safer option is to follow somebody and serve others, to really build a name in a field, start a company calls for leadership which comes from taking own decisions after critical thinking which requires proficiency in a language at early stage which can comes more easily in mother tongue. Example, Germany, Japan and other countries who excel in innovative thinking by teaching in mother tongue.
    If NEP is decided the same way movie scripts are decided, then we as a country are doomed.
    A true leader do not cater to voters like cinema director putting item songs and horrible script in masala movies because viewer want it.
    A leader leads the voter in right direction.

  25. Sorry SG the headlines are misleading. Here is a brief analysis. The language part is of little consequence (will auto-correct) in the overall picture if all else fall in place.

    *The Good*

    1. It must be mentioned at the outset that this is a very well thought out policy that takes into account our national ethos and beautifully bridges the yawning gap between our standard of edn & that of developed nations.
    2. At school level the major shift from present input driven assessment ( “do it the way I have taught you & don’t use your brains”) to learning outcome driven assessment is the proverbial paradigm shift that was much needed. This will make children understand concepts, question theories, hypothesis, postulates & brainmap what they have assimilated to be subsequently applied to finding a solution to the problems faced. No scope for rote learning here.
    3. The 360 degrees assessment till class VIII involves self appraisal, peer assessment & teachers’ assessment will help the child & more importantly the aspiring parents to get a real picture of where the child stands.
    4. Clubbing together four years course from class X to class XII and offering multitude of subjects in a multidisciplinary environment is a huge positive change that will enable the students to choose varied subjects each year. Eg one could choose maths, sociology, accountancy, physical edn & English in class IX only to switch over to psychology, economics, chemistry, arts & computers next year & so on. Then there would be two levels of difficulty, a simpler one termed ‘ Basic’ & a little tougher one called ‘ standard’. Also thrown in are skill subjects like carpentry, electrical & so on so forth. With a very sound assessment system providing more realistic inputs till class VIII it would enable the kids to make an informed choice of subjects.
    4. Coding is mandatory from class VI. This will not only enable the kids to learn coding at an early age but the knowledge of coding will form a bedrock on which they will work out solutions to every problem they would face in the professional field of their choosing.
    6. Semester system will reduce the stress on the kids. This coupled with reduced emphasis on board exams should make learning a fun filled experience.
    7. Universalisation of school edn & formalising Early Childhood Care & Edn (ECCE) for pre primary kids will surely get them cognitively ready in first five years ( Nursery to Class II). Development of literacy & numerical skills ( Language & Maths) can be now ensured very effectively.
    8. Creation of National Testing Agency (NTA) to administer entrance tests to various under grad courses is a very welcome step. And so is the the creation of Higher Edn Commission of India(HECI) replacing the UGC & AICTE.
    9. Award of Certificate at the end of first year, Diploma at the end of second year & Degree at the end of third with creation of Academic Credit Bank where you can keep your credits to be used while pursuing higher Edn after a gap will enable completion of Edn even after a gap.
    10. With heavy emphasis on research & building of scientific temperament we should move towards becoming knowledge power.
    11. Inclusion of Art & culture as mainstream subjects coupled with para 12 above should make next generations more nationalistic.
    13. Enhancing budget share from 4% of GDP to 6% is a much needed action.
    This is our chance to grab this NEP & make it our own. There will be far too much of opposition & every hurdle will be placed in its implementation. It will do us well to keep bureaucrats out of it, bring in genuine educationists to make it happen & streamroll every opposition & hurdle coming in its way.

    *The Bad*

    1. The NEP is to be rolled out from 2021-22 & is to be fully implemented by 2030 extendable to 2035. Any change in power equation at the Centre so very likely every five years in a democracy could derail its implementation.
    2. Ruling dispensations in States hostile to the Centre May not like NCERT & HECI subsuming state Edn boards & Universities. Even the change in role of state govt Edn depts from lording over all Edn institutions in the state to being mere enablers of Edn entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring quality Edn in govt schools will not be taken lightly by power hungry & corrupt bureaucrats.
    3. Politicians particularly the corrupt ones won’t like the general population to be well educated for they will be asked questions by their voters.

    *The Ugly*

    1. Left liberals given their substantially high level of intelligence will fight this policy tooth & nail for their mass base of uneducated unemployed will further erode.
    2. Groups that have made education a huge money making business will find it extremely difficult to cope with these changes that call for quality enhancement.
    3. Student bodies will be incited by their political godfathers to foment trouble since future lot of students will have to engross themselves in studies/research depriving the politicians of a captive pool of their supporters.
    4. Generating finances for additional subjects at school level & retraining/enhancing quality of teachers at both the levels will be a problem for every private Edn institution.

    • ‘It must be mentioned at the outset that this is a very well thought out policy that takes into account our national ethos and beautifully bridges the yawning gap between our standard of edn & that of developed nations.’

      What is the national ethos ? You did not explain. It is Varnashrama dharma. The NEP’s aim is to educate the poor low castes in govt. schools in Hindi and Sanskrit, with Ramayana, fill their heads with gobar, slow down their learning of English so they stick with the national ethos and do not demand equality. When they try college, it will be in English, and they will struggle. Meanwhile the caste Hindus will send their children to private school and learn English from standard 1 and have the advantage. The swarnas will corner all the jobs.

      The swarnas have only preservation of their privileges in their mind. They have no concept of nationhood. You can never reach the standard of developed nations because Hinduism is a system of graded inequality. Other nations work towards equal rights and opportunities, which is against the Hindu ethos that you pretend is the national ethos.

      You sound like a shakha Brahmin. Were you really in the army ?

  26. A very pointed carton – the fake encounter specialist, the man with a forged degree, and the RSS shakha master staring at the black board sums up India’s educational map !

    These Hindu vishwa gurus are the world’s future !

  27. This is a crafty plan by the Brahmins to keep the majority out of the competition with swarnas for jobs. Prof. Kancha Iliah had warned about this long back – during the period of Murali Manohar Joshi, the RSS Brahmin education minister at the time of Vajpayee. (another Sanghi Brahmin).

    The poor and the low income people who go to government schools will learn Sanskrit slokas and Ramayana in the first five standards. The sawarnas will go to private medium, or can afford private English tutors, so they will be ahead. When they finish high schools, the avarnas will be lower in English standard, so they will not be able to compete with swarnas in medical colleges and universities and finally jobs.

    The swarnas will have all the plum jobs, and the avarnas will be employed as Ram bhakts and cow vigilantes. This is the NEP. The swarnas will have control, and the avarnas have to be serviteurs to them, as prescribed by the dharma. This has been a long standing RSS goal.

    Advani the RSS Brahmin studied in a convent school. Sushma Swaraj sent her daughter to Oxford. Arnob Goswmai is another Brahmin who studied abroad in English.

  28. It does not matter much if the child does not go to an English medium school as long as he or she is taught English properly. Most Indian expatriates never went to English medium schools and still they communicate in English reasonably well.

  29. If Shekhar Gupta could read the voters mind as he has claimed in this and other articles, he could have helped Congress to defeat Modi. But that has not happened. Instead with each decision that Modi has taken, his popularity has only gone up and up even though Shekhar Gupta and his librandu colleagues had termed those decisions as disastrous. Arguing with librandus is meaningless and Shekhar Gupta can’t mask it catchy phrases.

  30. In the Gulf countries, Filipino maids earns twice as much as the Indian maids because Filipino maids can help the Arab children with their homework. Filipino maids speak English and Indian maids do not.

    • Also, the Arabs who shunned English want to learn English – and they are getting better. The same with the Chinese. Even the French are learning English and conducting business in English. India had an advantage and wants to throw it away.

  31. no i dont think so skill upgradation is the most important thing.Language is a secondary thing.one can learn skills in any language.Shear hard work, dedication and commitment is the way forward.Lets wait and watch how policy is implemented.then only we can say something.

  32. Well Written!

    Market forces want every one to learn to English today. If we look around, people with english skills tend to do far better (ecnomically) than those without it, especially in private sector. Globalization has further accentuated this need to learn english.

    Learning local langugae is important too. This will help to keep our literature alive, but from economic point of view it is of no use in current Indian context. So argument that indians WANT to have english medium is well placed.

    This govt will not force local language on citizens, as they are politically/electorally smart and read ‘Writting on the wall’. This advisory is due to spoons of hardliners in larger think tank.

    • India will not be driven by market forces. The RSS wants India to run according to dharma. Brahmins and associated swarnas can learn English privately, the avarnas have to learn Ramayana and be less qualified, their role is to serve the swarnas as prescribed by the dharma., and for that learning Ramayana is sufficient and apt. English learning leads to demand for equal rights and opportunities.

      • Rasgolla is definitely not an English word. If you want your arguments look credible, first change your name to an English name to mask your identity . Being religious and learning English are not exclusive. These go together very well. The problem seems to be with your hatred for RSS and Brahmins. While RSS popularity is growing day by day, the people like you continue to suffer from the ills caused by extreme hatred towards RSS and Brahmins.

        • You are entering a plea for RSS Brahamanism – are you a RSS Brahmin ?

          My argument is in the argument, not in the name. Goabr filled Brahmins will not be able to refute it.

  33. 1. Indian children need quality education – irrespective of the language of instruction.
    2. Japanese, French, German kids do well inspite of not learning English because they receive quality education paid for by the state in their own language – simply learning German does not guarantee stellar quality.
    3. Creating quality teachers is a long process – teachers like doctors or nurses can’t be produced on demand.
    4. The govt does not have quality teachers in all languages and they certainly aren’t going to pay for quality education. Creating infrastructure and human resources for quality education is a long drawn process. It is cruel to play with children’s futures simply to fulfil party agenda.

    This is a demonetization like decision – taken without having all the resources in place. By the time we come to our senses, India’s future will be damaged for a long, long time.

    Better solution will be for parents to decide what they want their children to learn – no need for big brother govt to mess about and make the cure worse than the disease. (Like lockdown part 1,2,3,4….) If quality teachers are available, market forces will lead parents to school their children in that language. The govt should simply see to it that they create quality teachers in all languages – no need to impose party agenda on ordinary Indians.

  34. Dear Sekhar Gupta:
    I is astonishing to see how Indian intellectuals and publications like ‘The Print”, who depend on English for survival, blatantly ignore latest researches that underscore the importance of learning and teaching mother tongue or native languages from a very early stage. In Spite of phenomenal economic growth and prosperity of German and Japanese societies, the English fanatics of India fail to see the importance of native languages or mother tongues in India. India is lucky to offer opportunities for bilingualism to its young learners. The fact, that learning languages other than English is a good thing for any society, should be understood by Indian intellectuals who are so used to look at the West to justify their theories and feel superior to India’s home grown knowledge.

  35. WRONG on all counts. This is even before I read or hear what you have to SAY. The only reason is because we do not give people that do not speak English Jobs. Change that, everything will change. I have not heard a more stupid argument in my life. Science, Technology, Mathematics, Compter Science are all Language independent. Medium of instruction is really not relevant. French, Japanese, South Korean, Russian, Italian do not teach in Englais. I cannot believe the mis-information spread by the Indian English Speaking Elite. I am shocked and surprised. If you are fair, have some one that is knowledgeable and believes medium of instruction should be in Mother tongue write a column or interview them.

  36. First they denied Sanskrit, it was restricted only for God and dwijja. But they shifted swiftly to English, and ask everyone to follow their mother tongue or Hindi, When all were started studying English, they were at Java. When it is time to study Java or C plus, again they are telling all to study in Sanskrit.

  37. Always blinded by your prejudice and hate towards one whole thought system…To educate in any of two regional languages out of three languages(we already had & having) is a nominal recommendation or a encouragement to go for bilingual approach for the better understanding at early years of education…No where it is a binding to follow compulsory regional language as primary medium of education.

  38. Hi Sir,

    The case presented by you in this article is good, but seems to overlook the fact and compulsion of a education policy which nit only needs to cater to the aspirations of people as well needs to meet the realities of millions who may think otherwise. Suppose education policy wouyod have stated English as a language of compulsion for the 1.3billion people, you and your fellow colleagues would have spending your ink on writing for another case.
    T N Ninan on the other hand has done a piece which validates the current policy with an eye on the fate of previous policies. He explains how the previous policy were altered when it went for implementation.

  39. Dear sir with all due respect disagreeing with you above,with agreeing to your contention that english is important a student always understands a concept better in a localregional language.We must not lose focus real issues in education addressed here in the education policy with more focus on multi discipline and making an individual more linguistic .Education should focus on skill building,practical knowledge.In regards to language I will give to an example say we have to explain photosynthesis which is a english word but the initial concept are better understood by students when explained in local language which enables them to write that in English also
    .Our focus should be research practical knowledge and skills My reservations on policy are that we in india have been spending criminally low in research over the years which needs to seriously change and a separate policy for research should be issued for same.

  40. Dear sir with respect disagreeing on above as we need to change this mindset of English being the paramount language,knowledge has nothing to do with it.We as a country need to be more open in our thinking and respect local regional languages along with english.India needs to go beyond just languages,having said that english is important which cannot be denied but giving the example of china ,japan who have not been english centric however have made huge strides in technology research.This education is a good one whose implementation will be important in getting results and encouraging critical thinking and widening of scope of knowledge with focus on both technology,practical skills .Research and focusing on skills should be our main focus towards education for betterment of our future generation thanks

  41. Mr. Sekhar Gupta is being silly himself in insisting that English is not a foreign language. Sorry how many Indians use it in their homes as their first language? ( Excluding those who are brought up to be sahibs with ultimate aim of settling down in USA?) At most a mixed with the mother tongue.

    English is included in the formula right from primary level. So yes, government students will get a education in English right from the beginning.

    No need to get so upset at the very thought that vernacular can be as respectable as English.

  42. English learning is more than adequate,if it is taught from class-5.Primary education in mother tongue is definitely more productive of a childs knowledge.The Southern States all carry out their official tasks in the State language.English is taught in mostt Schools in the South only at the post-primary stage.Hence primary education in mother-tongue is certainly no handicap.

  43. Sir while we argue over medium of education and struggle to educate ourselves in best English medium schools, I would like to draw your attention towards a huge amount of research work available in Chinese, German, French and other languages in PUBMED. The fact that can only English guarantee a research oriented society is false. I had to translate and read papers from Chinese as there were not many on the topic I was searching. I firmly belive scientific education in kanada, tamil or malayalam and the research hence done in national journal indexed in pudmed can bring the better out of us. Let’s not be in a conflict of thinking in other language and speaking in other. Let’s give public the option. The option of regional language shall never be ignored. Selective availablity of English medium is also responsible for pseudo social stratification.

  44. If English slaves like SG think that Indian voters want their children to be educated in English medium and they also feel that the new education policy would deny Indian children the English medium education, Modi haters like SG should celebrate because what Modi haters like Rahul Gandhi could not do by telling non-stop lies, the new education policy would do that. Then for what Modi haters are waiting for? Are they not confident of this new invention? Probably not. Their off the ground beliefs will once again take them into deep gloom 3.0.

  45. My 6-year-old child studies in a 50-year-old reputed English-medium School in Delhi. The child struggles whenever he is instructed in English by his school teachers. We have to arrange private tuition for him who instructs the child in Hindi so that the child can understand. This is a tedious process with all his day spent in learning under pressure to learn his lessons in a language he has not grown up with. At times he hates his school. Sometimes when the pressure gets on us, even we hate his school. Therefore, we admitted our 3-year-old second child into a 100-year-old reputed branch of a pan-India English-medium-based chain of schools. Now, the same story is being repeated for the second child, and we would soon be sending the younger child to tuitions where the teacher explains everything in Hindi.

    • The person who has lead his party to successive landslides in LS elections doesn’t know the reality of masses and you know the reality…. It is time people start questioning the logic of media coverage…

  46. One has it to give it to Gupta , a Haryana native , who is rooting for English albeit with ‘ears to ground logic ‘. I am a South Indian, diluted one , as a second generation immigrant in ‘ Cosmopolitan’ Mumbai . Having observed this language debate since ‘ before I was born ‘, it amazes me how this debate goes on and on , it is still hindi vs english . My own nebulous understanding of the issue is fraught with controversy . Everyone wants to get ahead , now , in the race called life . Everyone wants to also have pride in their language , culture , religion and other things they usually take pride in . Whether you want to be Munshi Premchand or Sundar Pichai is a no brainer , today . So take pride in things you take pride in and get ahead in practical ways . Terrible ‘Dharam Sankat’ this , Bheeshma Pitama would have preferred whatever he got instead of this .

  47. For God’s sake ModiJi, please do not implement NEP till all states and major political parties are consulted and their views are given due consideration and on board. Incorporate views of people like Manish Sisodia, Mamta, Nitish, Stalin, Biswa Sarma, Patnaik, Rao … Time n tested Golden Rule is – give English top priority Encourage Hindi n Regional languages. In this multi-polar world it is English which will empower kids to find jobs n progress. See how China went on warfootings to arm it’s growing kids with English in the past 3 decades and are just about ready to conquer the UN, WHO, Universities, Research Labs, State govts around the world.
    We must not force any Language on people.
    Half cooked policies are non-starters.

  48. But the educated in regional language/mother-tongue can learn better spoken and written English at the high school and college stage if is taught well. There could be a bridge course in English for acquiring functional skills. All the craze for English medium schools are there as the teaching of English in vernacular medium schools is very poor and the students do not learn functional skills like speaking writing well simple English for day to day purpose.
    So if the teaching of English can be improved in these schools in senior classes by having trained teachers, there will be no need of English medium schools.

  49. Left front Government in Waste Bengal had abolished English from School level for 2-3 years. Result was that Bengal had fallen miserably from the standard of education which once upon a time Bengal used to excel in.
    Govt of India is also aiming in that direction of “Atmanirbhar”

  50. Education through mother tongue till class five is a pragmatic and common sense idea. They didn’t try to play to the gallery. My respects.

  51. First , the rhetoric……This is an interesting take on the NEP Shekhar, but you are going a tad too far when you say this will decide the voting patterns in forthcoming elections……at best, it might be another point of mud-slinging between the candidates on the campaign trails and at worst, just an ineffectively enforced ‘guideline’ by a constituency that is lukewarm to it.

    Now, the matter on hand, and the policy…….Subscribing to an overarching ‘single language’ (be that English, or the local language) medium of instruction , in a country like India, is very shortsighted in terms of policy making. Look at popular media and entertainment in the country today…is it ‘purely’ Hindi, ‘purely regional , or ‘purely’ English on any of the channels? No channel that subscribes to linguistic purism, can survive with any decent TRPs in India….so why should one expect Education to be any different? Afterall, isn’t education a means to mould the least common denominator of the public psyche, hoping to help it become the highest common factor?

    Next, the underlying facts… ..English, a consequence of western thought processes, has the unique advantage of being able to describe everything we see in the physical material world around us competently. The local Indian languages, have a certain connect with the ‘psyche’ of the local populations and hence the kids, which make it easier to grasp in. Neither of the mediums, have any appreciable number of purists that can claim proficiency in them, to also be educators. So, in all probability, it is virtually impossible to meaningfully implement the policy of a single-language medium of instruction across the country…….any medium of instruction, will only be a bhel-puri creole that is best suited to convey the relevant concepts to the grasping minds.

    Lastly, the parting shot……..My concern though, is less to do with the ‘language of instruction’, and more with the quality of ‘instruction in languages’. If the English teachers can teach better English well, the Hindi teachers better Hindi, the Kannada teachers better Kannada and so on and so forth, then I think we are well positioned to have a fairly literate generation, who are decently equipped to articulate their thoughts in a coherent manner in times to come……how educated they become, is a wholly different question altogether.

  52. This is exactly what the gov’t wants divert attention from the growing number of cases.
    Later they may change the face of the argument with just one word ( Optional).
    Whether the gov’t have their ear to the ground I don’t know but the voters ears are deafend by the Blair of the conch.

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