Tag Archive | India

Speaking of Us

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Reschooling The Adivasi Academy in Tejgadh, Gujarat
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India’s certainly thriving in its linguistic diversity, if nothing else

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Debarshi Dasgupta

Debarshi Dasgupta

By Debarshi Dasgupta
OutlookIndia.com
, Sept. 9, 2013

[NOTE:  With some 780 unique languages, India has more than 4 times that of the Philippines. Yet some of the problems of “privileging” one or two languages over the others in India and the Philippines are eerily similar. In the Philippines, millions of non-Tagalog students had to start school with Filipino and English as media of instruction (MOI) — two languages they are not familiar with. In India, teacher Chaudhary Tekha asks her student Rangeela Bhili why the latter did not learn anything at school in spite of having studied through Class VII with  Gujarati — a language they were not familiar with — as the medium of instruction. “Because our teacher, whenever he came, always taught in Gujarati,” she says softly in Dungra Bhili, her own mother tongue. You see, the non-Filipino speaking students in the Philippines suffered the same fate as the non-Gujarati speaking Indians — largely the consequence of government’s hegemonic linguistic policies enshrined into both countries’ educational set-up. Fortunately for some Indian students, some timely intervention had come about making it possible, under one model, for a student to be taught in his or her mother tongue between Classes I and V. This intervention, which involves creating and printing textbooks and training teachers, has cost the government an additional money. But the cost needs to be measured against the colossal waste of money over the past 60 years during which the dependency on only one medium of instruction — which was not the mother tongue of the students — spawned generations of bar­ely-literate children. — Joe Padre]

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