Globalization compels linguistic unity as it competes for the easing of international barriers. It is the reversal of the Babel phenomena that effused nations through confusion of languages. It may portend an age similar to the antediluvian. The positive side of it is that it facilitates faster communication which could mean jet propulsion of information, provided the media of education is more prospective than just cultural. Certainly, one cannot hold new wine in old wineskins. This explains the massive support for private institutions despite the immense costs involved. Sadly, there are those who have exploited this situation to turn their institutions into a mad money-making machinery; a system of monetary discrimination. What if Government schools provided the same education in English medium? Why not? Wouldn’t there be more equal opportunity for all? Certainly, it is not acultural to seek the progress of the nation.
There are government English medium schools run by the Central government. In recent times, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat have also taken encouraging steps towards implementing English as a medium of instruction in state-run government schools. The results have also been very encouraging. Some are still doubtful whether this would help or hinder the learning abilities of children; they feel that one must first move from primary education in one’s own mother tongue to later, perhaps, education in any other language at the Upper Primary Level. However, not everybody would agree with this thought. At least those who press for English medium education of their children don’t seem to agree.
Now, it is certainly sought for that children be educated in the language they speak at home; therefore, there is the importance of the vernacular. However, in practice, the results appear different. The utilitarian element is not limited to what is, but what could be. Isn’t it human to look beyond the present?. Therefore, there is mass movement away from the government structures. It is very anachronistic to disregard the effects and demands of globalization anymore. The results could be embarrassing. A few years ago, the media laughed at the English of our present PM Modi. Now, he fluently speaks in the language though, they say, with the help of a teleprompter; in short, a necessity.
A Times of India article in 2008 observed that Hindi itself is undergoing a significant change as the urban context is rapidly gearing towards English. Again, this does not mean that people have become less patriotic. Who will not wish the best for his own family? It only means that reality cannot be compromised in an increasingly competitive world. Our little boats can cross an ocean; can they? A world-wealth of literature, now available in English through the massive efforts of the many will take eons to get translated into any vernacular. And, then how many are competent to invest time in such translations, seeing that most of the academicians are losing touch with the vernaculars? Certainly, wisdom consists in the redemption of time.
Yet, what about those who are still naming missions of translating texts into every language and every dialect, giving it the appearance of a worthy cause? Do they ask why the Protest movements in India, in the 6th century BC, avoided the use of Sanskrit and chose Prakrit instead? The New Testament writers chose Greek. They didn’t sacralize Hebrew, for a means cannot be turned into an object of worship. I know of at least one agency that is still funding projects of learning and inventing scripts for certain dialects whose children are getting educated in a more unifying local language. I asked one of the boys if he wished to read in his own dialect or in Hindi, and he replied, “Hindi, of course!”. Languages have widening circles of utility. Every linguistic region has a common language; Odisha has odiya, West Bengal has Bengali, Andhra has Telugu, most North Indian states have Hindi, as so on. People pragmatically seek what gives them a wider space to move freely in. Globally, we know what the answer is.
Pass through villages which are poverty-stricken, and the question is how much are we contributing to reduce poverty? How much is culture the reason behind wealth or poverty? How much is the lack of educational opportunities a reason? It does less to just try to keep the leaves green and not strengthen the roots. The government is certainly spending prodigiously towards the giving of educational rights to children. However, the fact that government schools are still last sought for or least sought for is embarrassing. They should have a stronger place in the building of the nation. What if the same money they spend to somehow maintain vernacular medium schools be equally distributed to also establish some good English medium schools? Of course, we do have the Kendriya Vidyalayas and the Navodaya Vidyalayas; but, why not more at the state-levels as well? Why should parents start getting worried when their kid is nearing age 3; for now, it would mean wait-lists, long queues, hefty donations, and high fees for the education of their kid, their world? Is it that the government is really incapable to do anything with its existing structures? Of course, it can. Government English Medium Schools are already faring better in the rural parts of Andhra and Telangana. [DC]. The Gujarat government has also taken steps towards this [IE]. It is hoped that the state governments of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and all other states will also take strenuous steps in this line.
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