Against the backdrop of the new Early Childhood Care and Education policies Prof Shivali Tukdeo recently wrote an article in the Indian Express titled The Word and the World . A few quotes:
The inclusion of home or local languages in preschool is a step in the right direction, for educational as well as social reasons.
Evidence-based studies on early childhood and research in educational psychology and cognition suggest that exposure to multiple languages can facilitate early development.
Given the interactive nature of early learning, home languages and local vernaculars would be excellent resources to introduce the child to the rhymes, rhythms and stories of a world that she inhabits. With the inclusion of mother tongues and local vernaculars in preschools, many neighbourhoods and localities, with their different stories, will enter the realm of school.
If the responses to the recent textbooks in Santhali, Gondi and Kok Barok are any indication, Adivasi children want to see their languages in school. The development of local languages as languages of knowledge production and dissemination will be crucial in democratising our education.
The language debate would be more productive if it were not framed within the binaries of either-or. The proposal to introduce mother tongues or home languages is not against English, and should not be taken to be so.