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Role of ‘indigenous language’ in education

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    9th Mar, 2022

Context

MBBS Course to be offered by the Madhya Pradesh government in Hindi medium.

Background

  • Vishwas Sarang, Medical Education Minister of Madhya Pradesh, has announced that the state government would soon launch MBBS course in Hindi medium.
  • The Minister also announced that study material for the course will be available at the earliest and provisions for lectures for medical students in Hindi are also being made.
  • This act of the Madhya Pradesh government has raised the issue of providing education in mother tongue.

Analysis

Provisions for education in mother tongue?

  • Article 350 of the Indian Constitution states that “It shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups”.
  • The National Education Policy(NEP) says that wherever possible the medium of instruction in schools until Grade V and preferably until Grade VIII -- should be the mother tongue or the local or regional language.  

Benefits of providing primary education in mother tongue:

  • As a child is well versed with his mother tongue, studying in the same language will ensure faster learning and retention.
  • Teaching in mother tongue and also providing education of anyother language/s will lead to higher synaptic activity in the brain of a childand this multi-language processing may cause higher mental agility. This mental flexibility will transfer to all areas of brain functioning.
  • The use of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction will also result in a higher rate of parental participation in a child’s learning. In India due to a lack of knowledge of English, many parents are unable to participate in their child’s schooling effectively.
  • Learning in the local languageboosts the self-confidence of children and they will be able to express themselves better without any hesitation.
  • Mother tongue isn’t just a language but asense of belonging for an individual. Learning in the local language helps to preserve our cultural roots and deepen our understanding of our heritage.
  • With the use of local languages for learning,dropout rates can be dramatically reduced in rural India.
  • A lot of students show disinterest to go to school because they are unable to connect with English and with no substitute coaching and lack of parent’s intervention, the odds are against them. The use of a known language can dramatically alter the situation.
  • The switch to the local language will be a big boon for teachers, The realistic situation on the ground is that many teachers in “English medium” schools are not actually fluent in English and this effects their performance in classroom.
  • Knowing more than one languagehelps in developing new perspectives for an individual and brings in various social and cultural opportunities.

Arguments in favour of technical education in mother tongue:

  • Imparting technical education in mother tongue will help the students who have done their schooling in regional or vernacular language.
  • This will help them in understanding the subject in a more comprehensive manner.
  • It will aspire students from underprivileged backgrounds to get education in technical courses without spending their valuable resources (time and money) on learning English.
  • Students from vernacular medium of education won’t have to suffer from inferiority complex in technical education institutions due to their lack of proficiency in English language.

Difficulties in providing technical courses in mother tongue:

  • Infrastructural issues stare on the face of implementing the policy of providing technical courses in mother tongue.
  • Translating and producing nationally and internationally renowned materials in mother tongue would be a Himalayan task leading to logistical nightmare.
  • The existing faculties themselves have been trained in their respective technical courses in English. These faculties also have experience of teaching in English. Their migration therefore from English to regional languages may not be smooth.
  • Implementation of this policy by employing educators how could teach in mother tongue becomes even more difficult when considered that close to 15 percent of the teaching posts across technical education institutes are vacant in the country.This when technical education today is only in English.
  • The biggest concern, among students, is whether studying will hamper their chances of securing an international job after studying in regional languages.

Conclusion

Technical education in mother tongue is per se not a bad proposition. It may in fact be responsible for better penetration of technical courses in Indian society. Implementation of this policy though requires proper planning, channelizing of resources and cultivating an entire ecosystem.

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