Medium of instruction... By Rahat
21 November, 2012
The British Council recommends that primary education in Pakistan be imparted in the local languages. However, we do not have a unified education system here. We have different types of schools like English medium, Urdu medium, A Levels and O levels, religious, non-religious, private and public schools. Well-bred families and the upper strata of society will never send their children to institutions where education is imparted in the local languages. Only the lower middle and poorer classes are forced by their financial position to send their children to government schools.
Therefore, a majority of the children will be deprived of learning English at an early stage. We know that the best age to learn a second language is really from birth, for children's minds are like sponges, soaking up everything as easily as if it were naturally in them to do so. In fact, it is natural in children to learn things like languages faster and with more ease than it is for adults. Being familiar with other languages at an early age increases the comfort and interest in other cultures and people later on in life. Because we live in a world of differences, it can only help to be conscious of the lives and identities of others. Otherwise, it may be difficult not only to understand others, but to live peacefully alongside them as well.
Knowing another language can build self-esteem in children. Some children find themselves feeling more confident when they can communicate in another language. Children who learn a second language can be more creative than those who do not learn another language. They tend to understand complex concepts very well, possibly making math and science easier for the student. Another benefit is that being bi-lingual may help children with future job opportunities. The world is like a global village and our students are exposed to the international media. As the language of the foreign media is English, we should not deprive our coming generation of knowing and speaking it fluently. Besides, the standard of English in Pakistan is already very low and we should not aggravate it.