Innovation in mother-tongue education is the need of the hour

Talking about the need for India to look at new and low-cost development models in education and health, Sam Pitroda posed a rather simple but profound question earlier this week:
“If Bangalore can become back-office of America, why can’t our rural areas become back-office of urban areas?”
Note that Sam's question is of employing rural men and women where they are, without needing them to physically relocate from rural areas to urban areas. Hence, the fact that migant ruralites get manual jobs due to urban development is besides the point.

So, why have urban areas been unable to employ rural men and women without requiring them to physically move to urban areas (as drivers, construction workers, maid-servants, etc)?

The answer is, of course, fairly simple. Minds can perform their function where they are, but bodies have to move physically. And urbanites consider ruralites as bodies, not minds. Ruralites themselves do, too.

And this is, of course, a problem of education in rural areas. The problem is not so much that there isn't a sufficient number of schools in rural areas; there's a good number of them. The problem, really, is of quality.

Good quality education can never, never ever be given in English in the rural areas. It has to be given in the language of the people. It has to be given in Kannada in Karnataka, in Tamil in Tamil Nadu, etc.

Isn't it already being given in Indian languages? Yes, of course. Here again, the question is not about the existence of education in Indian languages, but the quality of that education.

Currently, it is only the government - the least capable and most corrupt set of human beings ever in any time or clime - which is doing anything that's being done on education in Indian languages.

And that is at the root of the whole problem. It's time for private parties - you and me - to realize the inalienable link between good education and mother-tongue. It's time for you and me to innovate in mother-tongue education.

There's a lot of cleaning up to be done, a lot of re-branding to be done. Our languages have to be re-girded as vehicles fit for carrying secular knowledge, not just leisurature (yeah, leisure-literature) and folk songs and folk dances and spiritual texts.

I believe the time has come for private philanthropists to take this seriously. The Murthys, the Nilekani's, the Mallyas, the Gopinaths, the who's who - it's time to focus on innovation in mother-tongue education, sirs.

1 comment:

Kevin Matin said...

There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
Keep working ,great job!

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