Monday, September 26, 2022

A Flexible Education Policy

By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 20, 2022 11:20 pm

The education sector has been witnessing sweeping reforms in recent times which has predictably led to public debates. While these reactions are nothing new, it is essential that we do not sensationalise issues. Drafting education policies in India, like any other field, is indeed a difficult task. In the present age, it is essential for policy makers to put together a flexible policy that allows younger generations to compete at the global level while also preserving the unique and diverse heritage of India. It is in this context that we need to understand the various arguments regarding the medium of instruction. The preference of language is intrinsically linked to the specific context within which a child may have been socialised. One reason why the debate surrounding the instruction medium becomes essential in India is due to its historical inheritance. Any debate on the issue of medium of instruction needs to be aware of the colonial history of the Indian nation which saw English imposed on the diverse groups pushing various languages to the brink of extinction. It is essential to get rid of the colonial bias and focus on indigenous languages.

A significant amount of research has highlighted that learning achievements are enhanced when children are taught in their mother tongue. Bilingual and multilingual education has been found to increase a student’s self-esteem. In bilingual models, students continue to use both mother tongue and second language as languages of instruction for a range of subjects. Moreover if the transition from mother tongue to second language is too rapid it may have a detrimental effect on the student’s education. Given these facts it is important that we look into some primary factors that have hindered the proper implementation of the bilingual model.  Firstly, an open and flexible understanding of the importance of mother tongue is necessary. In communities where many languages are spoken there may be disagreements over which languages should be taught and recognised. This obviously represents a complicated question and requires a deliberative approach to ensure the survival of languages that are on the brink of extinction. It should be ensured that dialects and languages of minority groups within the state are accommodated within the curriculum. Secondly it is essential for the administrators to recognise the fact that the application of this model requires significant financial and social costs. Due to such costs,  an enduring commitment to the development of Human Resources is essential for application. Thirdly, governments should make concerted efforts to train individuals capable of speaking and teaching these languages. In fact the shortage of qualified individuals has been one of the biggest roadblocks in the implementation of this model. Lastly, given the increasingly cosmopolitan nature of India, it would be helpful if different states encourage the establishment of schools from different state boards to facilitate inter-province movement. In conclusion the task of establishing a global/ cosmopolitan and culturally diverse education system is indeed complicated, but essential.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 20, 2022 11:20:56 pm