mother-tongue-vs-english-as-medium-of-instruction-in-schools

Context

  • Over the years, there has been a raging debate over the need for children to have their mother tongue as the medium of instruction in schools. 
  • While educationists have emphasised the importance of learning in the mother tongue to enhance a child’s learning and overcome glaring inequities, there has been an equally steady demand for English-medium schools in several States.

Arguments in Favour of the Mother tongue

  1. First and foremost it should be noted that a child understands his mother tongue and hence if he/she is instructed in that language itself, his transition to school education is smooth and easy.
  2. The mother tongue is vital in framing the thinking and emotions of people. 
    1. Education is, therefore, that causes the comprehensive development of a child. Learning in one’s own language will help the student express himself/herself better. 
    2. This will thus make school learning two ways of communication between teachers and students. 
    3. Understanding the subject matter would boost the confidence of the student and propel him/her to continue with his/her schooling thus lowering the drop-out rate.
  3. Educating children in their mother tongue will also build a strong home-school partnership in their learning.
  4. It will also benefit the primary school teachers as many of them find it difficult to express themselves in English and hence are not able to transfer as much knowledge as they would like to, thus creating a knowledge deficit.
  5. Providing primary education in the mother tongue will also decentralize the task of textbooks This will bring the content in textbooks closer to children and make them understand the syllabus better. Thus targeting mechanical learning.
  6. Education in the mother tongue will help the students in getting a better sense of their cultural background. And therefore helps him/her progress in life his/her roots intact.

Arguments in favour of English 

  1. English as the ruling elite: Sustained class division mentality still makes the English language a class distinction.
  2. Academic consensus: In 2016, UNESCO stated as part of its Global Education Monitoring Report: “To be taught in a language other than one’s own has a negative effect on learning.”
  3. Better Learning outcomes: Various states and convent school has proven better results at various levels of academic achievements when compared to Hindi or regional language.
  4. Self-Esteem Boost: As per the tendency of the corporate or IT sector wherein multiple MNCs are involved, individuals are inclined in communicating in English.
  5. Consent of various states: Several states in India like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal etc have claimed to promote the regional language with English and avoid Hindi in their state educational system.
  6. Sense of Affiliation: In the evolving phase, Indian competition in various fields incorporates English as a high-level language.

Arguments against Mother tongue

  1. Competitive Evolution: Present generation competition has highly grown with a certain constraint identifying the level of proficiency which makes English better.
  2. Constitutional Laws: There is no constitutional law mandating Hindi as a language to be included in the Educational System.
  3. Sense of liberty: Certain states and individuals have expressed their feeling to communicate or use any language as they prefer.

Arguments against English

  1. Hindi can be related to many youths or kids where certain English vocabulary is not easy to interpret.
  2. English originated in India after the advent of the Britishers or European nations.
  3. Due to this, India does not sense it to be a primary language which affects the emotions and pride of the nation.
  4. Hindi or Devnagri Lipi signifies the relation with Sanskrit, the Ancient language of the world, by which India restores its cultural civilization.

Conclusion

Several empirical studies support what the New Education Policy is proposing about education in the mother tongue early on, adding English later. In a bid to boost higher education in India, the recently introduced New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 recommends teaching in the mother tongue rather than English.

“English should be considered as a secondary language rather than a tool to measure the skill sets and capabilities of an individual.”