[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.

Let us know if you found some other relevant articles.

Karsten van Riezen
Education Consultant, SIL Int.

SIL, South Asia Group
LinkedIn KvR

Recommended website: http://www.nmrc-jnu.org/
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