Okay, we got here. Now what?

What Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar wrote in his article Don't Teach English to Your Children in Class 1 is something we have been advocating for here at the Banavasi Balaga from a very long time. It's just unscientific, nay criminal to throw away one's mother-tongue thinking English can replace it.

Although Mr. Aiyar doesn't talk about it, the first thing that must strike even the most superficial reader of his article is that the entire English-medium private-school system in India discards the science of education by teaching English and teaching in English from (why Class 1) even the Kindergarten stage! What's worse, many even refuse to teach the mother-tongue already in Kindergarten!

I have grown up hearing about and being in English-medium private-schools which punish children who utter a word in Kannada, and now my son continues to be tortured by such an English-medium Kindergarten (from which he will be rescued shortly and put into a private Kannada-medium school). Of course, I don't mean that the English-medium schools do it knowingly; in their heart of hearts, they think they're doing the right thing by neglecting Kannada and promoting English. That's the problem.

It takes a lot of energy and money to build up a human settlement in Antarctica, and a lot more to sustain it. It takes throwing away basic commonsense which asks you not to go there. Only a handful who can spend that much energy and money ultimately end up being able to do that. What about the rest?

It takes a lot of energy and money to educate children in English-medium land, and a lot more to sustain it. It takes throwing away basic commonsense which asks you not to go there. Only a handful who can spend that much energy and money ultimately end up being able to do that. What about the rest?

It's not even fun out there in the cold with nobody around, and everything all white and bland and colourless and lifeless. But let's admit it - we all got there thinking of it as a great human feat. Okay we've accomplished that feat. Now what?

What about all our brothers and sisters back home, that far away place where people still continue to languish in ignorance and poverty, they who together with us were born on this earth speaking that beautiful, melodious, honey-like tongue called Kannada?

Welcome to Banavasi Balaga.

7 comments:

Bharat Dhanu said...

Its time to launch Leave India Movement for English Medium schools.

I could never understand why we are running these schools in this country. Introducing English medium at post school level is ok since students are matured enough and not all languages are equiped with technical knowledge required at this level. But at school level, why the english mediums are so fancy ?

We need english for knowledge and to interact with world. OK. agreed. but why should we learn all other subjects in English. What is need to learn SS, Science, Maths in English? they can be very well understand and learned in mother toungue. If we need good English, we can give more emphasize on that from earlier grades. But for that teaching all subjects in English is absurd.

These English medium scools are the root cause of many social problems we are facing. The next gen is being detached from the own culture and mother tongue. English medium literate will never read vernacular books and literature, will never enjoy beautiful poetry writen in own language forget creating new one.

Do we want to eventually kill the Indian languages, Indian culture ? is that motto of our eduacation system?

Vikram said...
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Vikram said...
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Vikram said...

The last 4 paragraphs are very beautifully written and are very apt. Congrats!

Vikram said...

Kiran, here is an excerpt from your article "my son continues to be tortured by such an English-medium Kindergarten (from which he will be rescued shortly and put into a private Kannada-medium school)."

I will be curious to know a few more things here. At what grade are you making this switch? 1st? I am sure you have done research on the quality of schools, how did this school measure up against other English medium schools you might have looked at? How does your son feel about making this switch and has he bought into it? He might be too young to realize this but just curious.

Thanks for sharing.

ಕಿರಣ್ ರಾವ್ ಬಾಟ್ನಿ / Kiran Rao Batni said...

Vikram,

He's switching at 3 yrs 10 months and going in to what's popularly called UKG (the school calls it 'Preparatory' for some reason). This means he'll be in Class 1 at 4 yrs 10 months. This is typically 1 year faster than in English medium schools.

W.r.t. quality - indeed, I surveyed many English & Kannada medium schools and settled on this one because of the Kannada medium, very good and highly experienced teachers, peer referral, the school's wonderful track record and a good homely environment complete with a host of cultural activities. In a word, this school takes the burden and artificiality out of learning (and most of it is due to it being a Kannada medium school). These advantages (not counting the medium of instruction) were absent from the English medium schools I reviewed.

How does my son feel about it? Well, he hasn't gone in yet, but I can tell you that he'll love the "extension of home" feeling with everyone speaking in Kannada and treating him like a loved one. Also, the Kannada medium will make him understand the importance of cooperation and teamwork.

The name of the school is "Mahila Mandali" and it's located in Basavanagudi.

ಕಿರಣ್ ರಾವ್ ಬಾಟ್ನಿ / Kiran Rao Batni said...

Correction: I just checked today, and he'll be in Class 1 at 5 yrs 10 months - just like everywhere else.

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