NEP mandate on the medium of instruction worries some parents

Children City Education Karnataka metro National Top Story

Wonder how their children will cope when they are transferred every few yrs

Kabir Rana (name changed), who serves in the Indian Air Force, wants to give his six-year-old child the best  education. Always on the move with his family due to his transferable job, he is worried about the long-term impact of the New Education Policy (NEP), which recommends the use of regional language as the medium of instruction. He wonders whether his child would be able to adapt himself to a new language system every three years as they move from one place to another.

“At times the postings happen every two years which will make it impossible for him to gain proficiency in any language. Learning a new language before actually learning concepts will become tough for him. Such a system will make his confidence go down every time he changes schools,” Rana said of his son.

Asked how the implementation of the policy will impact his decisions as a parent, he said: “My plan would be to leave my family at one station so that the child’s education doesn’t get disturbed. As parents, it is not emotionally easy for us to keep our children away in their early years.”

The confusion around the medium of instruction in NEP  has become a cause of worry for parents with transferable jobs.

Some parents feel the decision to not move their wards from one station to another might help the child learn one language, but this arrangement will come with some compromise from either of the parents.

Mani Sinha, a cabin crew chief with Air India, informed The Observer: “Such a system will demand sacrifice from mothers who are in transferable jobs as eventually they might have to compromise with their careers.There is no harm if they introduce a regional language as a subject but the medium of instruction must be a common language.”

Contrary to this, Wing Commander P.K. Mishra said as a parent he feels good about the policy as it will expose his child to different languages. “Learning a new language is like acquiring a new skill. For a child’s mind, it is not all burdensome to learn multiple languages at the same time. South Indian children are at an advantage over North Indian kids as they are well versed in their regional language and, at the same time, have a good understanding of Hindi.”

Gp Captain Kamal Singh Oberh (Retd) of Air Force thinks the policy will never work out. “No matter what happens, the English language is not going anywhere,” he said.

Kamava Bopana, headmistress of DPS Whitefield, said: “We are still in the process of implementing NEP. However, instructions around the three-language formula are not very clear. As teachers, we are not happy with this idea as teaching in a regional language is a far-fetched idea in a class which has so much linguistic diversity.”

As per the NEP, the medium of instruction in both public and private schools will be the home language/regional language, preferably till class 8 and beyond. The policy, however, encourages teachers to use a bilingual approach with those students who know a language different from the medium of instruction.

Dr Koyal Biswas, head of the Hindi department at Mount Carmel College, said: “To me, the policy looks good. It pains me to see how Indian languages are dying. This will help us retain our identity. The presence of regional languages doesn’t mean that our children will forget English.”

Asked how the policy will affect a child’s learning skills, she said: “A child’s mind is like a sponge. The more languages he learns, the better his personality will emerge. Learning new languages will not polarize communities; it will only make our children more accepting of the world. Language must not be politicized. Moreover, we must not come to any conclusion until the policy comes into full action.”

In an interview published by the Hindustan Times, Dhir Jhingran, founder director of the Language and Learning Foundation and former IAS officer, said the draft policy is flawed as it fails to distinguish between language acquisition and language learning. There is no evidence to show that young children can learn unfamiliar languages in school through textbooks and teacher-led instructions.


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