Medium of Education

One day i got a call from one of my friends’ Shekhar ‘Hi dada, I want to discuss something with you. can we meet ?’. ‘Is it urgent ?’ i enquired. ‘No, it’s not urgent but it certainly is disturbing our home atmosphere You are well aware that our son Surya will turn 6 next may and we are in a dilemma in choosing school for him’. ‘Then let’s meet at 5 pm at my office’ i said. ‘No dada, we will have to meet at my house because our discussion will be meaningless without Seema’. Seema is his wife. ‘Okay then we will meet at 6 pm at your house.'

Last few years I have come across similar situation at so many times. Major issue in discussion is not the school but the medium of education. Every year I get involved in at least 20 to 25 such situations. Parents are having different opinions about the medium of education. Last 10 to 15 years we have seen a rapid increase in the english medium schools in my area which is predominantly Marathi speaking. Parents feel proud in sending their wards to english medium schools. sending children in english medium school has become a social status for people.

As a student of Sainik School, my idea of a school is much different that what most of the schools in my area are. We have a curriculum as instructed by the education board to finish it in time. That’s all. No grounds so no sports. Very less extra co curricular activities and very less learning. We focus mainly on only completing the syllabus given in the book. At sainik school, apart from board syllabus, we have to keep our house clean, we have to take part in sports (that too in varieties like football, basketball, hockey, cricket, volleyball, table tennis, horse riding, swimming, athletics, boxing, cross country running and many more). also we had elocutions and debates, quiz competitions and cultural events. An overall development of a child is expected in schools which we seldom see.

In ancient India there were Gurukuls which were engaged in teaching students. The subjects taught mainly were Vedas, Astronomy, Medicine, Philosophy, Political Science, Economics, Religion, Yoga, Physical Education, and Defence Studies. The Vedas dealt mainly with morality. Though this system had some disadvantages the quality of education was very high. Disadvantages were that girls were not allowed in gurukul and gurukul education made you a scholar but was unable to provide you job. The medium of education then was only mother tongue.

Though John Amos Comenius is called the Father of Modern Education, in India Lord William Bentick, Governor-General of India, was known as the Father of Modern Western Education in India. Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay bought the modern school system to India, including the English language, originally in the 1830s. The curriculum was confined to modern subjects such as science and mathematics, and subjects like metaphysics and philosophy were considered unnecessary. Hindu School, located in Kolkata, is a government-administered school and was established on 20th January 1817, considered to be the first school in India. Socrates, the Greek Philosopher is considered to be the first teacher in world. He was sentenced to death more than 2,400 years ago for corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens. Since British gave the policy for modern education system in India, the education system has evolved to higher levels. Kerala, Rajasthan, and Karnataka have been ranked as the top performing states in the school education while Andhra Pradesh tops for language and Mathematics. The Covid19 situation saw the emergence of new learning called Online Education. It has helped in reaching out to the students when there were problems in physical connectivity. Though It makes the learners difficult to develop a relationship with each other and limit social interaction, it was the only way to connect with the students.

Now lets see the process of learning. According to Wikipedia Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviours, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals, and some machines; there is also evidence for some kind of learning in certain plants. Four Phases of Learning generally considered are

  • Preparation: Arousing Interest.
  • Presentation: Encountering the New Knowledge or Skills.
  • Practice: Integrating the New Knowledge or Skills.
  • Performance: Applying the New Knowledge and Skills.

Children learn by observing, listening, exploring, experimenting and asking questions. Being interested, motivated and engaged in learning is important for children once they start school. Before school, the child learns to crawl, stand up, walk, run, speak and interact. He speaks his first sentence in his mother tongue because he observes his surroundings and tries to copy it. So his surroundings, atmosphere at home is what he sees every time he opens his eyes. So naturally it is his mother tongue what he hears and tries to copy. The language which he speaks is grammatically correct. Where did he learned the grammar from ? Basically learning by observation is the most powerful method of education which child is doing in so early stage of his life. Whatever the child learns next is easy for him to understand if it is in his mother tongue. By changing the medium of his learning, we are actually making him difficult to learn.

The person well acquainted with one language properly finds it easy to learn other language. I think if a person learns grammar of one language very well, it becomes easy for him to learn any other language. A child must so be well learn one language properly so as to understand any other language. So i think every child should learn in mother tongue at least up to Primary Education.

UNESCO report on The importance of mother tongue-based schooling for educational quality also thinks that Primary Education of a child must be in mother tongue. The National Education Policy (NEP) approved by the Union Cabinet on July 29, 2020, says that wherever possible the medium of instruction in schools until Grade V — preferably until Grade VIII — should be the mother tongue or the local or regional language. Though it does not make it mandatory to learn primary education in mother tongue, it recommends so.

Here i would also like to share my experience of schooling. I studied in a Zila Parishad (Government) school till 3 rd standard and in a reputed school up to 6 th standard having state board syllabus in my mother tongue Marathi medium. Then i was selected for Sainik School Satara which is a English medium school having CBSE syllabus. In My class at sainik school some students came from Marathi medium and some from English medium. At first students who came from English medium topped the class but after six months majority among the toppers were students who came from Marathi medium. it only took 6 months for us to cope up with the new medium of learning. I think we could adjust the shift in medium of learning in so less time only because we were well acquainted with basics of one language properly while our english medium students were not.

If you want to admit your child in english medium school, i suggest you should give provide as such atmosphere. Your day to day conversations should be in english even at home so that the child listens only english. you should have english newspaper at home. You should provide every possible atmosphere to him which will help him learn english and think in english. Only then you should think of your child studying in english medium. Else, please let him study in his mother tongue at least for primary education.

Thanks for reading my article. I really appreciate your efforts for improvement. Thank you so much for staying with me till the end. If you like this article do encourage me by liking it and please leave a comment on it.




Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store