13 October 2017
A Panel Discussion organized at Chitkara University, College of Education on Regional Languages as a medium of instruction in primary education
To foster Multilinguism in our schooling, Chitkara University’s College of Education organized a thought provoking Panel Discussion on “Hinglish Pinglish English: What Makes Sense to a Learner?”featuring learned and experienced panelists; Ms. Piya Thakur, Deputy Commissioner, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Ms. Bano Pandita, Senior Announcer, All India Radio, Chandigarh, Mr. Sofi Zahoor, Senior Director India – HR & Operations, Quark Inc., Mr. Balkar Sidhu, Theatre Artist & Director – Tagore Theatre, Chandigarh and Prof. A.K. Rajput, Head – Department of Elementary Education, NCERT, New Delhi.
The Discussion, which focused on importance of regional languages and advantages of using them as a medium of instruction in schools was efficaciously moderated by Prof. Mohammad Rafi, Dept. of Education, Malerkotla, Punjab and was attended by more than 70 education Leaders, policy makers and renowned academicians from the region.
Mrs. Bano Pandita said that one should speak a language which can reach to the listeners heart and mind and one which comes easily from the heart of the speaker..It could be mother tongue or any other language.
Speaking on the topic, Mr. Sofi Zahoor represented the Industry and shared its point of view. “Everything has to be aligned with the demand of the industry”, he said. Presently the majority of products made by software company’s like Quark are consumed in UK & USA, therefore knowledge of English Language is pertinent. But research has shown a drastic 47% increase in use of Internet through smart phone in rural areas of India per year, so the demand for people with the knowledge of regional languages would be required in the coming times. He ended by saying that we as members of the society and educationists should use the collective intelligences of all the languages in schools to achieve optimum results.
Ms. Piya Thakur shared with the panelists and the audience present that one should impart learning in mother tongue during the initial years to make the learner comfortable and in Higher education – English can become the dominant medium of instruction in order to make the learner industry ready. Being Bi-lingual is what works best for us at Kendriya Vidyalaya’s as we have students from varied regions and states.
Prof A.K. Rajput laid stress on the fact that the medium of instruction should not be mother tongue but it should be the Home language. He agreed with Ms. Priya Thakur that students should be taught in their Hone Language till the elementary years and later on a healthy mix of different languages can be used to teach different subjects. He said that research has shown that a student can learn multiple languages simultaneously with ease, so we should let him/her use this inherent talent. Educationist should not standardise language, let the student make their own standards according to their comfort levels.
Mr. Balkar Sidhu put forth important point with respect to communication that language is a medium and It can be non verbal as well. We can communicate through body language and expressions as well. In this world gestures came first and then came a language. He stressed upon the fact that in the population of 730 crore in this world only 35 crore are English speaking and 35 crore can speak and write in English both, rest are surviving without knowing English, hence regional languages are the key to learning and success in life eventually as well.
“Studying in the mother tongue is advantageous to the child’s development. A child is able to understand concepts and subjects better and they can express themselves more fluently when taught in their mother tongue. On the other hand most children today are more comfortable speaking in English than their mother-tongue since their parents also speak in English at home. These days people don’t always remain where they were born. In such a situation, children might find the transition to English difficult later. Getting a proper balance is the need of the hour. Schools can adopt regional language as the medium of instruction and teach English as a separate subject. ”said Dr. Sangeeta Pant, Dean- Chitkara College of Education, Chitkara University, Punjab.
Concluding the panel Discussion, Dr. Madhu Chitkara, Vice Chancellor Chitkara University expressed her gratitude to all the esteemed panellists and academicians attending the event. Great ideas, visionary plans and effective education strategies can only be made when opinions are shared and discussed between various stakeholders of our society and the same was done here today.CLIL@India is a visionary project which aims to preserve the multilingualism in India and through thought provoking events like this, it aims to create and provide a learning environment to our students which truly makes sense to them, said Dr. Chitkara.