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Friday, December 14, 2012

Notions of one-language instruction challenged in schools in India

BANGALORE: Playwright Girish Karnad feels teaching one language at school is "nonsensical" and "tragic".
During a talk on 'Culture and Entertainment' organized by the Azim Premji Foundation at its campus here on Thursday, Karnad favoured "bilingual education". He said: "What has happened to Indian education is tragic. Teaching two or three languages in schools was a gift, which we have lost now.''
Karnad said the policy of one-language medium of instruction in school came from Europe. "The notion of one-language medium of instruction is nonsensical. The language problem is unfortunate. It's possible to teach and learn two or three languages. I've learnt them. Whatever be the medium of instruction, English or Kannada, other languages can be taught,'' he added
Referring to English and Indian languages, he said: "We're in a linguistically strange situation. The learning and earning language is English, while the laughing and crying language is the mother tongue.''
He said teaching of English was an important change the British brought to India. "English has become our language. We don't just speak it, but define our life in it." he said.
The writer said the opening up of the skies in 1991 (allowing cable television and satellite TV) has had an impact on the performing media. "Indian languages are flourishing in the performing media,'' he said.
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