Friday, April 30, 2010

[MLE] Is the US a monolingual country?

Dear MLE friends,
We sometimes talk as if India is unique in its multi-linguistic situation. And yes, of course it is. But the following quote might surprise you:
"While there is no precise count, some experts believe New York is home to as many as 800 languages — far more than the 176 spoken by students in the city's public schools or the 138 that residents of Queens, New York's most diverse borough, listed on their 2000 census forms "

Saturday, April 17, 2010

[MLE] Migrants issues / NORRAG Article on India

Dear MLE friends,

Two items came in after the reports on the Right to Education act.

Sanjeev Rai, National Manager-Education, Save the Children India, raises the complicated issue of the language constrains for children of migrant labourers:

Language of instruction has become a major obstacle  before children of migrant labourers .No school could deny admission of these migrant children but  without ensuring proper provisions in the  destination schools children can’t stay  there. Save the Children has been working with the seasonal  migrant children from Jharkhand staying with their parents near Brick Kilns of West Bengal. The medium of instruction in elementary schools of West Bengal  is Bangla  and Hindi  for the  Jharkhand so inter-state coordination  must be in place to ensure the realization of Right to Education by the marginalized children of the country.”

Monday, April 12, 2010

[MLE] Responses to the Right to Education Act in relation to Mother tongue

Dear MLE friends,


That the “Right to Education Bill” came in to force last week made several authors publish about it. Since the line on the use of the mother-tongue is rather weak, not too many articles focussed on MLE. Still a few interesting quotes from different places:


In a broader article on the act in the Indian Express Madhavi Kapur states the following:
Then there is the question of learning through the mother tongue. Educators have been crying themselves hoarse about the psychological, emotional and social implications of learning through a foreign language in the first five years of school. The aspirations of the people point clearly in the opposite direction. Everyone wants English for their children for obvious reasons. In enjoining us to “use the mother tongue as far as possible as the medium of instruction” the policy makers seem to be hunting with the hound and running with the hare. The possibilities of bilingualism have been left unexplored. It is time to come out of the either/or paradigm. A variety of models can be developed which honour both: the legitimate aspirations for upward mobility and the concerns of educational psychologists, linguists and sociologists. “ (; http://www.indianexpress.com/news/taking-class-out-of-classrooms/602718/

[MLE] Responses to the Right to Education Act in relation to Mother tongue

Dear MLE friends,

That the "Right to Education Bill" came in to force last week made several authors publish about it. Since the line on the use of the mother-tongue is rather weak, not too many articles focussed on MLE. Still a few interesting quotes from different places:

In a broader article on the act in the Indian Express Madhavi Kapur states the following:
"Then there is the question of learning through the mother tongue. Educators have been crying themselves hoarse about the psychological, emotional and social implications of learning through a foreign language in the first five years of school. The aspirations of the people point clearly in the opposite direction. Everyone wants English for their children for obvious reasons. In enjoining us to "use the mother tongue as far as possible as the medium of instruction" the policy makers seem to be hunting with the hound and running with the hare. The possibilities of bilingualism have been left unexplored. It is time to come out of the either/or paradigm. A variety of models can be developed which honour both: the legitimate aspirations for upward mobility and the concerns of educational psychologists, linguists and sociologists. " (; http://www.indianexpress.com/news/taking-class-out-of-classrooms/602718/

In a blogspot Kiran Rao Batni is very critical. This pro-Kanada writer feels that the act is enforcing the move towards English medium::
"Question 10: There seems to be an underlying assumption that Indian languages should soon be replaced by English as the medium of instruction in schools all over India. Is this right? What are the implications of such an assumption?
Answer: Yes, that assumption informs the Act, and a preview of that assumption is seen in Article 29(2)(f) which declares that medium of instruction shall be in the mother-tongue "as far as practicable". http://karnatique.blogspot.com/2010/04/right-to-education-from-centre-state.html


Also Dr.V.N.Sharma feels the act is too soft:
"•  The Act provides for mother tongue as medium of teaching only if it is 'practicable' for the government. For selected few, English has been left anyway as medium of teaching. Therefore, the education with double standards has been allowed to continue." Http://www.countercurrents.org/vnsharma240310.htm


A very supportive article is written by Vinod Raina. If not for the contemnt, the article is worth skimming for the beautiful pictures! http://news.rediff.com/slide-show/2010/apr/02/slide-show-1-india-has-a-long-way-to-go-in-right-to-education.htm. The article mentions the teaching in the Mother-tongue as a positive peadagogic principle.