Education through Mother Tongue
India is a country of innumerable languages, dialects and accents. Every state speaks a different tongue. This leads to a grave problem in education – should students be taught in Hindi or English or in their native language? Education through a child’s mother tongue has several advantages yet suffers from serious setbacks.
For every child, the first language he or she learns is the one that is spoken in their homes. The biggest advantage of teaching children in their mother tongue is identification and understanding. Learning a new concept in anew language is a frightening prospect for many children. It is believed that in several tribal, rural and backward regions in India, students drop out of school for this very reason. Learning even at the primary level is an alien language, whether it is English or Hindi proves difficult for some. Therefore, it is important that schools use the medium of the prominent native language.
It is often recommended to teach a child in the mother tongue and introduce secondary languages at a later stage. This helps the child to learn without any hiccups. Many believe that if students were taught in their mother tongue, schools would have a higher pass percentage and lower rate of dropouts. However, there are also some pitfalls.
English has become the standard language in India today. Hence, it is obvious that as a child grows up, it is essential to be able to communicate in English. Also, even if a student learns in the native tongue, often several technical textbooks will not be available in that language. The student thus encounters lack of resources. Even job opportunities are available more to those who are educated in English as compared to those who have graduated in their mother tongue.
Schools should find a balance between teaching in the mother tongue and teaching secondary languages like English and Hindi. One cannot overlook one language in favour of the other. By studying the pros and cons, a middle path should be adopted that will help both the children and the languages.