Monday, September 17, 2007

[MLE] Recommendations from the "National Knowledge Commission"


Dear MLE friends,
In recent visits several people mentioned to me that the recommendations of the "National Knowledge Commission" are not in line with the National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005). That made me looks up the recommendations of this commission on the internet. I found that “the National Knowledge Commission is a high-level advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, with the objective of transforming India into a knowledge society”. A few abstracts from their recommendations on language:

The National Knowledge Commission recommends that the teaching of English as a
language should be introduced, along with the first language (either the mother-tongue or
the  regional  language)  of  the  child,  starting  from  Class  I  in  school.  This phase of
language learning should focus on using both languages to create meaningful learning
experiences for the child without disproportionate emphasis on grammar and rules.  

Language  learning  cannot  be  separated  from,  and  must  be  integrated  with,  content
learning.  Therefore, English should also be used to teach some non-language, content
subjects, starting from Class III in school.  The choice of subjects for this purpose can be
left to schools depending on the proficiency of teachers and availability of materials. 
This would, in effect, create multi-medium schools.  It would also help reduce the divide
between English medium schools and regional languages medium schools. 

The pedagogy of language learning as well as teaching should be suitably contextualized,
to lend meaning to real situations and daily lives. Moreover, assessment should be based
on proficiency rather than specifying achievement targets that reward mastery of single
texts acquired through rote learning. To this end, a National Testing Service (NTS) for
certification of language competence as well as recruitment of language teachers should
be set up.


It is actually quite interesting reading to look at the whole letter and recommendations at:

Regards,
Karsten

Karsten van Riezen
Education Consultant, SIL Int.
SIL, South Asia Group.

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