English is given importance everywhere because of the colonization our minds have undergone despite being free since 1947.

Andhra Government Decides to Introduce English as a Medium of Instruction in Government Schools.

One of the latest headlines, as reported by Zee News says: “Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy to introduce English as medium of education in government schools.”

While this has been critiqued by the liberals and conservatives alike, 96% of the parents of students studying in these schools have shown thumbs up to this decision. It has been treated as a “development”, a step to progress.

Many have critiqued the CM’s decision as  this will  reduce the importance of Telugu, the language of the state. However, studies report that most Indians believe that knowing the English language is one of the skills required to receive better employment opportunities in the country other than analytical, team-building and adaptability skills.

English Language being considered as a skill is both advantageous and disadvantageous. A skill can be acquired, as well as calling it a skill can imply it is a privilege.

English is given importance everywhere because of the colonisation our minds have undergone despite being free since 1947. Not only in India, English has a influence in all the countries who are now or then have been the colonies of the british. The other important reason is that each state has a language of its own, and we generally venture out of our villages into cities so that we find employment in another region or state. We have uncountable number of dialects and not one, but eighteen different languages recognised by the Constitution. The only way to mediate with another is to use English as a mode of communication.

English has been a privilege language because government schools have regional languages as their medium of instructions. Government teachers are in excellent positions from the point of view of the salary. But the students in these schools are from underprivileged families and households where hardly any English is spoken. Moreover, most people in India, being non-native speakers of the language, having a great deal of vernacular influence, consider it an unattainable talent to learn the language.

With this step taken by the Andhra Pradesh government, at least at the primary level, from classes 1-5, these privileges of the higher class, will reach the common masses in the villages. The generation of the future will have skills to speak, read and write a language that is most commonly spoken, read and written in India.

The myth in common circulation is that English is the commonest language spoken across the globe. But the truth is, its reach is not as far and wide as it seems to be. Only twenty per cent of people out of the 7.5 billion speak the language. Out of those twenty per cent too, 0.36 billion users of the language are non-native speakers.

Knowing the truth as against this myth is quintessential to learning the language and teaching it to those who have perhaps never imagined themselves in a position good enough to be able to speak English. Some consider the language like a status symbol. The benchmark it is creating for status in the society is unfair.

A host of challenges await the government of Andhra Pradesh as they will have to train many teachers in English first. The government has been expected to give more weightage to the regional language, Telugu. They will need to take necessary steps in this regard, for instance, by making it mandatory to pass in Telugu with a certain percentage of marks for the student or by giving more credits to the subject.

One of the main reason that English has been made the official mode of communication by the United Nations. Most of the communications in the world are released in English language. It has also been observed that the adaptability of a human being is that he catches and learns what he hears constantly, which is quite faster then the reading and writing abilities whether it be any language. So, continuous speaking of English language makes the individual habitual of the same.

In all the measures proposed in this context by the government, one cannot find a mention of improving the “communication skills” of the child which should have been given more emphasis than acquiring any particular language. Communication will include teaching emotional intelligence, presentation skills and body language along with English speaking.

Notwithstanding these factors, education in English is a democratising decision, and an empowering one, as verbal skills always include the acquisition of the English language. The article by Zee News reports that a survey was conducted by the Andhra Pradesh Government asking parents to choose between three options for the medium of instruction in schools, in the following order:

  1. English Medium
  2. Telugu Medium
  3. Other Mediums

“As on April 29, of the 17,87,035 parents of the students from class I to V, about 17,85,669 have shown their interest and opted for the first option. About 3.05% have chosen the second and 0.78% the third option voluntarily.” – Zee News

Clearly, it is a step that will soon be expected from all the governments based on the public opinion that is distinctly in favour of the Andhra Pradesh Government.

Andhra Pradesh Government is taking many other steps towards transforming the education sector and also promoting digital modes of education by using audio visual means. It has launched schemes to educate the children of those below the poverty line and schemes for empowering women through education. It is moving towards its goal of becoming Vidyandhra Pradesh, ‘Vidya’ – being education for life.


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