New Education Policy: Education in Mother tongue/language will improve learning: Prof. Govind ji Pandey

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New Education Policy:  Education in Mother tongue/language will improve learning: Prof. Govind ji Pandey

Lack of vision and support destroyed learning in mother tongue

India is a country that has diverse cultures and languages. There is an old proverb which says that at every twenty miles you will find visible changes in the language and culture of the people. Historically, Sanskrit enjoyed a dominant position and most of the Vedic period texts are written in this language only.

Language determines the way we see external reality and express it in different forms. It influences our way of living and interaction with others. Different art forms literature, plays, music, films, etc are highly influenced by the language.

As per the biographical account of many travelers from India and abroad our education, culture, art were in a very advanced and dominating stage and academically we were well placed in world history. The end of the Vedic period and attacks on India not only destroyed our rich cultural heritage but also affected the growth of local languages. Apart from our main languages Sanskrit, Hindi, we have lost as many as 220 languages in the last 50 years alone. UNESCO has declared 197 Indian Languages as endangered.

Now, we have 22 major languages that are included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. But these languages are facing a serious threat from English, a foreign language, which came to India with British Rule. Though British Rule ended in 1947 the use of English as a dominant language still exists. It poses a great threat to our indigenous languages. For languages to remain relevant and vibrant there must be a steady stream of quality input in the form of textbooks, novels, magazines, films, etc. In India, till now, higher education has very little scope for learning in one's own mother tongue. Due to lack of resources and at times acceptability, people prefer to learn in the English Language.

Because of the constant demand for the English language and overlooking of other regional languages the course material was widely available in the English Language. Though some of the Indian States supported regional languages but lack of proper support from the Union of India kept it in the background and the foreground was heavily loaded with books, novels, etc. in the English language.

Language or System: The problem is not with any language but the education system which supports it. The use of English as a medium of communication is not bad, as it gave us an advantage in the job market. Because of the English Language education, we are dominating in Silicon Valley and other parts of the world. When we compete with China at the world level for a place in the skilled market our skilled workers get a good response as compared to Chinese workers. This is because of our knowledge of the English language. But the knowledge of English was restricted to Metro Cities and Convent Education System. The poor, the villagers, the peri-urban people were deprived of education in the English Language. They did not have access to good books in their mother tongue and the Governments at State and Centre were not visibly keen to change the educational landscape.

Our Strength: The regional languages in India enjoy a very strong film and literary culture. Bollywood, known for its musicals, is a world-class Hindi film industry producing around one thousand Hindi films yearly. Because of the musicals of Bollywood, the world is singing Hindi songs of this industry. Starting from Raj Kapor, Dev Anand to Shahrukh Khan, the dominance of music and songs is visible across the world.

Regional Film Industry from Tamil, Telgu to Bangla, Marathi, Bhojpuri, etc have also grown in size and influenced many. Tamil films are widely appreciated in Malaysia, Indonesia, and China, while Bhojpuri films dominate in Mauritius, French Guyana, etc. But India as a country was not able to provide support to any of its own languages to stand as the international link language.

Despite the fact that we are not able to present our case in United Nations to include Hindi as an official language, we have a lot many people in its support. The six languages that are used for official purposes in United Nations are Arabic, French, English, Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish, and Russian. Hindi is the world's fourth-largest spoken language as compared to other languages of the world. In this list Bangla language is also not far behind, rather ii is ahead of many UN official languages, in terms of the number of speakers.

We have a very strong network of regional languages dominating other parts of the world.

Reasons for our failure to establish the dominance of our Languages:

1) Economy – Twentieth Century saw the emergence of America as a Super Power and the fall of some of the great economies and countries. Germany and Japan, the two leading economic powers of the twentieth century were not able to dominate the century as they were devastated by the war. Despite the fact that their economy was very strong and their language was most sought after during 1930- 40, disappeared from the international landscape. The reasons were very obvious, political dominance and economy. America replaced the gap and English became the dominating language across the globe.

2) Influence of Hollywood- As a tool to change the life of millions and give them some moments of pleasure at the time of social, economic, political turmoil across the globe, Hollywood became a synonym to the larger-than-life sequences and dreams sequences. People fell in love with the visual world created by Hollywood and it started an era of dominance of the English language across the globe as soft power.

3) Lack of Infrastructure: The kind of support required to strengthen learning in one's own mother-tongue was not provided to different States and due to the lack of visible infrastructure and support the educational system of India selected the easy path of learning and accepted English as a medium of gaining knowledge.

Scarcity of Good teachers: The problem of finding a good, skilled language teacher soon became a difficult task. The unavailability of good teachers not only deteriorated the growth of regional language but ample availability of English Teachers and spoken English training centers in Indian Cities affected the development of regional languages. People who were good at Hindi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Bangla grammar either shifted their profession or learned another language for survival.

New Education Policy: Hope for Mother tongue/language

The Modi Government has brought a New Education Policy where the focus is again shifted to strengthen mother tongue/language. The Government has instructed the Higher Education Institutions across India to impart education in their mother tongue. The support is also provided at primary and secondary education levels where the schools and colleges are asked to teach in the mother tongue. Though the roots of English as a link language are very deep, if we consistently push, we can replace it with any of our languages in near future.

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