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Indian Education System: Anglicizing education at the cost of indigenous languages

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By Prachi Mishra

In 1835, Lord Macaulay introduced anglicized education system in India. He had nothing but a strong contempt for the Indian history and civilization which is quite evident in his Minute on Indian Education of 1835. He wrote in this notorious piece:

“It is, no exaggeration to say, that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in Sanskrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgments used at preparatory schools in England”

At present the British might not be physically present in India to indoctrinate their ideology, however, the British dyed education system of the country continues to expose the students to Western ideology. In most of the ‘good schools’, preference is given to English rather than Hindi or any other local language.

Maria Wirth, a well- known blogger, recently raised a very significant question that why even after almost 68 years of independence, English dominates the education system in India. She writes:

“Why would a free India want to continue with English as the preferred language at the expense of Indian languages and at the expense of Sanskrit which is the basis of those languages and is praised the world over? In which country the upper classes do not to speak in their mother tongue?”

It won’t be erroneous to say that the treatment the Indian regional languages receive is despicable when compared to the treatment given to the foreign languages, especially English. Most of the educational institutes today, especially the international schools, use exclusively English for imparting education.

The children studying in these schools learn about Pythagoras, Galileo and Newton, without even hearing about Panini, Aryabhatta, or Bhaskar.

Children thus educated develop an elitist attitude and scorn upon those who do not have the competence to either speak or write in the language.

Learning a foreign language for educating yourselves is not wrong; however, the problem ensues when the Western influence dominates over the Indian. Even Maria Wirth, says the same:

“Nobody says that children should not learn English. But why demand from teenagers fluency to write essays, understand thick textbooks and the question papers in their exams? They need to learn the basics, like students in other countries do. Why burden them so young with tomes in an alien language? This happens in no developed country, only in a few former colonies, including India.”

And it’s not only in the Indian education sector that English predominates but also the official work in majority of public or private sectors is done primarily in this language.

The problem is that we often link the knowledge of foreign languages with modernity, and justify our betrayal towards Indian languages by arguing that by adopting new languages, we are getting modernized and developed.

English language is perceived as a language offering hope and a better- life, which has changed its status from a foreign language to a compulsory second language in school and college education.

However countries like China and South Korea have proved that development can be attained even while sticking to the mother-tongue. These countries have developed and modernized much faster and better without switching their medium of instruction to English.

It is not that we should completely ban English and stop learning or using it. However the same privilege should be given to our own regional languages, as we give to English. The need of the hour is to provide equal access to all the Indian languages in various public and private sectors.

It’s not that our country can’t develop with the aid of our regional languages. What we need now is a proper infrastructure that would promote their usage in everyday life, the lack of which has caused English to become superior above the native languages.

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West Bengal Topper’s name Archisman Panigrahi Appears in Jadavpur University Merit List without Applying

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West Bengal Class 12 topper Archisman Panigrahi tops the Jadavpur University merit list without applying to the varsity. Wikimedia

Kolkata, July 14, 2017: West Bengal Class 12 topper Archisman Panigrahi is in a unique predicament, his name tops the Jadavpur University merit list in four subjects without him ever applying to the varsity.

“I never applied to Jadavpur University but I came to know through a friend that my name figured in the top in the merit list for physics, chemistry, geology, and mathematics. The marks and birthdate were not mine,” the student said.

He said he has informed the varsity authorities.

“I have written to the dean highlighting that I had not applied and I can see my name on the top,” he said.

According to varsity vice chancellor Suranjan Das the matter will be taken up with the cyber crime department of the police. (IANS)


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Indian Students from Dehradun University win Global aerospace competition CanSat in Texas, US

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Indian Students from Dehradun University win Global aerospace competition CanSat in Texas, US (Representative Image). Pixabay

Dehradun, June 28, 2017: Students from University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) here have left behind 39 teams from across the world by winning the first position at the global aerospace competition CanSat held in Texas, US, this year.

The 23-member multi-domain team included students of Aerospace Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Computer Science Engineering, Material Science Engineering, Instrumentation and Control Engineering and design studies.

The winning team had worked under the guidance of their professors — Ugur Guven and Zozimus Labana.

“UPES students winning CanSat parallels the recent successes of the Indian space programme and prepares students for the role they will have to play when they eventually join the booming aerospace sector,” Guven said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Organised by American Astronautical Society (AAS) and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), CanSat is an annual design-build-fly competition with space related themes.

ALSO READ: Muslim Women in India Can Become Change Agents With Education

It tests students’ analytical, creative, decision making, problem solving and collaborative skills besides their domain knowledge and expertise.

It also calls for the utilisation of unique skills from different disciplines, which help to augment the multi-disciplinal skills of the contestants.

CanSat 2017 saw participation of institutions like Princeton University, University of Manchester, University of Alabama, VIT University and National Aviation Academy. (IANS)

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The no detention policy in schools needs to go away. Now.

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By Harshmeet Singh

Gone are those days when you could encourage the kids to study harder by telling them that they would fail if they don’t study hard. The ‘no detention upto class 8th’ policy was perhaps one of the most contentious provisions of the Right to Education Act. Though several voices have been raised against this provision, it is still alive and applicable. The purpose behind introducing this policy was to give a push to the holistic development of students and to keep a check on the dropout rates. But the declining levels of reading and writing across the country point towards an entirely different story.

By protecting our students against a probable failure, we are letting go of the chance to prepare them for the tougher times to come, both in and outside the school. The students are being made to believe that lack of inputs would still give them what they wish to achieve. In 2012, a committee of CABE (Central Advisory Board of Education) was formed to look into the feasibility of continuing the no detention policy.

The committee stated, “We need to stop, re-assess and then move forward. At this stage, it would be prudent to reiterate the need for assessment of the learning outcomes, and make it consequential by linking it to promotion or otherwise to the next class beyond grade 5”. It also supported the view that degrading learning levels is one of the negative consequences of this policy.

Promoting the child to the next class while his or her knowledge base isn’t good enough is disastrous. The RTE act has tried its best to retain kids in the school, without ensuring that their purpose of attending a school is fulfilled. Since the policy only extends up till class 8th, most of the students are ill prepared to handle the rigor of classes 9th and 10th.

Most of the government school teachers seem to be content with the no detention policy. The no detention policy means that even if they don’t teach anything to the students, they will still maintain a clean track record of 100% students passing the grade. A drop in the teaching standards can be attributed to this ill-conceived provision.

Interesting, the act even fails to mandate a minimum attendance for the students to the eligible for the next grade. So even if a student shows up for 30 days in the entire year, he or she will still be promoted to the next class. In such a scenario, how would you encourage the students to take their studies seriously?

In government primary schools, the implications of this policy are all the more weird. The students, who aren’t taught anything all year long, have no option but to leave the answer sheet blank in the final examinations. The teachers, in order to justify the final results, fill up the answer sheets of the students themselves! And this is how a student who can’t read a class 2nd text reaches class 8th and inflates the literacy rate of the country!

With no academic requirement needed from the student’s end to pass on to a new class, the Right to Education should more aptly be named as the Right to attend school.