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Showing posts with the label English

The Role of Language in the New National Education Policy

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Photo by Jaikishan Patel from Unsplash Last week the Indian government cleared a new National Education Policy (NEP). An NEP sets the framework for education for approximately the next 10 years. It is therefore worth looking at it from a language perspective. The policy gives a push for multilingualism and at first glance it seems that the pedagogical principle of children being taught in their mother tongue is kept up. However a closer look reveals that it is more complex than that.

[MLE] Good practices in multilingual education strategies and policy in India

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© United News of India In the previous blog post I reported on the MultiLila Research Project which is going on in India. On July 12 and 13 the consortium behind this research project conducted a meeting “The languages of education in multilingual India: exploring effects on reading and mathematics” at which important aspects of multilingualism and education were discussed. Under the heading " Starting English early not the best way to learn English well " (A quote from Dhir Jhingran) the United News of India reported on some of the issues discussed.

[MLE] Research report on the Use of English in Classrooms

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In India low-cost private English medium schools are growing in popularity and in Ghana an early exit, transitional bilingual education model is promoted. The British Council, together with other institutions, did research at the classroom level in these countries on what this means for the learning of the children. The findings are worth considering with as key question: How to avoid damage to learning when teaching is through English?

[MLE] English compulsory

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Panel of secretaries recommends to make English a compulsory Copyright: Financial Express Earlier this month a panel of secretaries from the Group on Education and Social Development has recommended to make English a compulsory subject in all schools beginning from class VI, and to start at least one English-medium school in each of the 6,612 blocks in the country. This news was reported in the Indian Express and the Financial Express a couple of weeks ago. I had hoped by now a few more details would have come out, as the panel aims for its implementation by this April. However the newspapers remain silent about it. The panel claims that this recommendation is in line with the three language formula by that it still allows the medium of instruction be the mother tongue, while English will have to be added as either number two or three. The advise goes against the RSS recommendation of last October that suggested that "the medium of instruction from elementary to higher

[MLE] Book release: English and multilingual education

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New book on multilingual education in India with a special focus on teaching English.   Dr Mahendra Mishra is a well known figure in the area of multilingual education in India. He  was State Coordinator for Multilingual Education (1996-2010) in Odisha and spearheaded the mother tongue-based multilingual education in the primary schools in ten tribal languages there. So, when he (co-)writes a book, we better take notice! MLE proponents usually have a love-hate relationship with English as the English is often suppressing the building of a good foundation in the mother tongue. It is therefore quite courageous to write a book on " Multilingual Education in India: The Case for English ". The description makes you want to read more:  "Some perceive English language education as a hindrance to the growth of lndian languages and allege that it causes a social divide. The arguments of this book convincingly correct this uninformed notion and prove that English has

Language and the Sustainable Development Goals - UN Symposium

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Symposium: Language and language differences tend to get taken for granted by planners The Study Group on Language and the United Nations, an independent group of scholars and practitioners on matters related to language, convened a symposium on Language and the Sustainable Development Goals in New York, on 21 and 22 April 2016.  Its goal was to examine the importance of issues of language in the formulation, implementation, and successful completion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

[MLE] British Council Conference on Multilingualism

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Delhi Conference on Multilingualism and Development Last week the British Council India hosted the 11th Language and Development Conference on Multilingualism and Development in Delhi. The Statemam  published this week an article with highlights of the conference Of course there was quite some attention given to the role that English plays in the sociolinguistic arena india. Prof Ajit Mohanty spoke in that regard about  "a double divide: one between the elitist language of power and the major regional languages (vernaculars) and, the other, between the regional languages and the dominated indigenous languages." While talking about the promises the parents are given while enrolling their children in private English medium schools, Giridhar Rao of Azim Premji University, "argued that it is a false promise for two reasons. The first is the poor condition of the education system in the country. ... private schools do not give better academic results compared to go
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Learning in English and mother tongue are not mutually exclusive   Kieran Cooke from the Universal Learning Solutions , claims that if a synthetic phonics approach for literacy is taken governments do not need to choose between the mother tongue and e.g. English but can do both simultaniously. The article on the World Education Blog   describes a Synthetic phonetic approach to reading as : "This approach teaches pupils letter sounds (for example, mmm not em, sss not es) and how to blend those sounds together to read words (so d-o-g makes ʻdogʼ). At the same time they learn how to write words by segmenting a word into its sounds, and then forming letters for those sounds." It then gives some examples from Africa which proof that also for non Mothertingue English children this approach gives better results than conventional methods. There is also a reference to India: "One study using this approach with Kannada-speaking children in India shows

[MLE] A sad story from Nepal

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Dear multilingual education friends, Usually newspaper articles report on something new starting. This time Republic in Nepal reports on a failing project. The article Multilingual education fails to attract students in Jhapa points out that due to book supply challenges and resistance from the parents, several MLE classes have stopped.  It would be interesting to investigate further what is going on there. If you know any background on this, please put your comments on the MLE-India blog just below this entry. A few quotes: In Jhapa district, more than three dozen schools had been conducting classes in around half a dozen local languages, including Rajbanshi, Limbu, and Santhal. However, many of these schools could not implement the mother-tongue based education after stakeholders criticized the use of local languages as the medium of instruction. It seems one of the problems was with the teachers:

[MLE] NCERT study ; "States realize English is what people want"

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Dear Multilingual Education friends, As a follow up on the NCERT study National Study on Ten Year School Curriculum Implementation the Times of India published this week an article titled States realize English is what people want . A few quotes It's not just parents across India who are confused about the time and importance to be given to education in English and the vernacular; the latest data from NCERT reveals our education establishment is just as perplexed, with very little uniformity in the way regional languages are treated. Almost 30% states devote [only] six to seven periods a week in Class V for teaching the local language, the study says. English seems to be scoring. Introduced towards the middle of elementary school, it is now offered at the Class I level in 26 states, making it clear that most states have realized that that is what people want. "While they (parents) may kno

[MLE] Release of ASER Report - also: Implications for English teaching

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Dear multilingual Education friends, Every year the ASER report provides a great source of data with regards to realities of primary education in rural India. The ASER press release states: Every year, ASER finds out whether children in rural India go to school, whether they can read simple text and whether they can do basic arithmetic. Nationally, the proportion of all children in Std. V who can read a Std. II level text remains virtually the same since 2012, at 47%. This proportion decreased each year from 2009 to 2012, dropping  from 52.8% in 2009 to 46.9% in 2012. Among Std. V children enrolled in government schools, the percentage of children able to read Std. II level text decreased from 50.3% (2009) to 43.8% (2011) to 41.1% (2013). Over the last three years, there has been a steady increase in the provision of libraries in schools that have been visited. The All

[MLE] ECCE- Article: The Word and the World

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Dear MultiLingual Education friends, 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,

[MLE] : The ECCE has hit the press

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Dear multilingual education friends, Several of us have had input in the drafting of the Early Childhood Care and Education policy (ECCE) on request by the Women and Child Development Ministry.   It clearly states at several places that the use of the mother tongue of the children is the preferred medium. E.g.: The mother tongue or home language of the child will be the primary language of interaction in the ECCE programmes. However, given the young child‟s ability at this age to learn many languages, exposure to the national/regional language and English in oral form as required, will also be explored. This weekend the policy hit the press with the language issue in focus. Yesterday on the front page of the Delhi version of the  Indian Express was an article titled: " Govt wants Playschools to mind Language, go Vernacular " and today a similar article was published:

[MLE] Videos from the 3rd International English Language Teacher Educator Conference

Dear multilingual education friends, The British Council is pleased to share the link of the videos from the 3 rd International English Language Teacher Educator Conference (TEC) held in Hyderabad from 16 - 18 March 2013. The videos have been uploaded on YouTube and you can view them at this link . There are some interesting presentations such as “ Evaluation Study of MLE of Odisha ” by Lata Pandey from NCERT, “Grounding ELT in an MLE Framework” by Ajit Mohanty from JNU “Importance of Mother Tongue Education for Quality Education” by Pamela Mackenzie from INfD Enjoy watching them and others. From some of the speakers there are presentation available also .

[MLE] A positive newspaper article on MLE pilot projects in Assam

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Dear multilingual education friends, In Assam some good pilots are going on and the press has found them. Last week the attached article appeared in a newspaper in Assam. Interestingly the article highlights that from the boy they feature his English has become better. It seems that is an important point for advocacy because it is English that the society values most. A quote: "Kisun, however, is an exception. He is the only one in the family who attends an Adivasiya school and can read and write English" "'Earlier when I was studying in the LP school in the village, I could not understand English or follow any of my lessons. However, after coming to Adivasiya school, I can read and write English to some extent. I have also learned my own language better now.'" The article then continues to explain more about the school, the pilot project and the brother MLE efforts in the country an

[MLE] Times of India: Writers pitch for mother tongue

Dear Multilingual Education friends, A group of writers in Karnataka submitted a petition to the supreme court in favour of mother tongue medium education supporting the state government's rule on this regard Are you interested in this in more detail, control click on the following: Times of India: Writers pitch for mother tongue A quote from the petition: " Children can learn better in their mother tongue and it's the appropriate medium. Even Mahatma Gandhi had echoed the same view. Nobody has opposed English. English can be taught as one of the subjects at primary level. ”

[MLE]: The Hindu: Let a hundred tongues be heard

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Dear multilingual Education friends, “ Shrimp ’ s back gets broken when whales fight. ” This is an idiom from Korean, meaning when there is fighting between powerful men, weak people could be a scapegoat of the fighting unless they are very careful. This metaphor seems to fit well in this big fighting between English and Hindi and many other local languages which could be scapegoats of this fighting. The English whale seems to be winning the game as there are scare materials available in Hindi for tertiary level education in Delhi and even many government schools in Karnataka will use English as a medium to compete with English medium private schools. Sumanyu Satpathy, linguist at the University of Delhi, wrote an article on it in the Hindu. A few quotes: “The domination of English and Hindi is turning Indian education and culture into a depre

[MLE] Article: Multilingual Education in India: Myth and Reality

Dear Multilingual Education friends, Samir Karmakar and Kinnari Pandya of the Azim Premji University, Bangalore published an article on Multilingual Education in India: Myth and Reality in which they plead to give more attention to the context: Any approach towards MLE is bound to fail if the stated form of the policy lacks an understanding of what is being aspired by the population with reference to the Indian languages which is often being decided by various economical and historical factors. Therefore, understanding the linguistic culture in India becomes a must. Very often the success and failure of a policy depends on the implicit, unofficial, unwritten, de facto aspect of what we call public opinion. Therefore, it becomes quintessential to understand the linguistic culture of the population to achieve the stated goals of the policy documents. This includes an in-depth invest

[MLE] Article in Guardian "Language exodus reshapes India's schools"

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Dear MultiLingual Education friends, The Guardian had last week an article on the role of English in the Indian education system. A few quotes: "More and more across India, parents are forsaking educating their kids in their mother tongue in favour of English. Despite warnings from educationalists that a child's cognitive development is affected by early schooling in an unfamiliar language, there has been an exponential increase during the last decade in English-medium schools in the country. The latest data compiled by the National University of Education, Planning and Administration (NUEPA) shows that the number of children studying in English-medium schools has increased by a staggering 274% between 2003 and 2011, to over 20 million students." "When the standard of teaching in a regional language school is good, the difference

[MLE] Article "Linguistic imperialism alive and kicking"

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Dear Multilingual Education friends, The British Council, as well as some US agencies,  are active in south Asia and other places promoting the use of the English language in the classroom. A recent article by Robert Phillipson in The Guardian titled "Linguistic imperialism alive and kicking"   is criticising this as "undermining multilingualism and education opportunities". Some quotes: The myth is the belief that studying English is all you need for success in life. Policies influenced by this myth prevent most children from accessing relevant education. Is Anglo-American expertise really relevant in all such contexts? In fact educational "aid" worldwide does not have a strong record of success. There is scholarly evidence, for instance from Spain, that primary English is not an unmitigated success story: quite the opposite. Governments have tended to clutch at a