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Indians for English

English, Mulitiligualism, bilingualism,

Indians for English

India inherits a multicultural and multilingual society where bilingualism and multilingualism becomes order of the day to be the part of the mainstream. While mother tongues and regional language were the part of the education curriculum from the beginning, English made inroads to our education system as a second language. Slowly, knowing the importance English as an international language, many of the school made it first language as part of the curriculum. Little information is available, however, on the number of people who "know" English and the extent of their knowledge, or even how many people study English in school. According to the 1981 census, 202,400 persons (0.3 percent of the population) gave English as their first language. Less than 1 percent gave English as their second language while 14 percent were reported as bilingual in two of India's many languages.

The Fifth All-India Education Survey done in 1992 found out the possibilities of studying English in India. According to the survey, only 1.3 percent of primary schools, 3.4 percent of upper primary schools, 3.9 percent of middle schools, and 13.2 percent of high schools use English as a medium of instruction. Schools treating English as the first language (requiring ten years of study) are only 0.6 percent of rural primary schools, 2.8 percent of rural high schools, and 9.9 percent of urban high schools. English in India is offered as a second language (six years of study) in 51 percent of rural primary schools, 55 percent of urban primary schools, 57 percent of rural high schools, and 51 percent of urban high schools. As a third language (three years of study), English is offered in 5 percent of rural primary schools, 21 percent of urban primary schools, 44 percent of rural high schools, and 41 percent of urban high schools. These statistics show a considerable desire to study English among people receiving a mostly vernacular education, even in the countryside.

English continues to be the premier prestige language in higher education because of the resource and guidance available in this language are innumerable compare to the regional language or even national language. Careers in business and commerce, government positions of high rank, and science and technology which attract the brightest, continue to require fluency in English. English is another passport and provides visa for overseas study.

English is reckoning as prestige language and the tongue of first choice which continues to serve as the medium of instruction in elite schools at every level. Private English medium schools are mushrooming in all large cities and many smaller cities. Even government schools run for the benefit of senior civil service officers are conducted in English because only that language is an acceptable medium of communication throughout the nation. It serves even better in migration to where opportunity beckons and Indians are constantly shifting base within the country; our cities reflect this reality.

Working-class people, themselves the rural-urban migrants and perhaps bilingual in their village dialect and the regional standard language, perceive English as the tool for their children's need in order to advance. Schools in which English is the medium of instruction are a "growth industry." The English speaker also commands more respect and courteous responses in some situations than does a speaker of an indigenous language.

However, in the recent times of global market place Indians have become the obvious choice of knowledge based industry because of their sheer knowledge of the English language and the ability to effectively use it on the job. The trend is showing positive and upward growth and even the European and American companies have been showing greater interest in offering jobs to Indian professionals. Not all credits to be given to English alone, the knowledge of subject is also to be kept as important, yet the medium of expression and communication is being powered by English. There is no denying fact about this.

Realizing the importance of this imported language which can bring benefit to the society and the nation, the national knowledge commission of India has proposed the Government of India to strongly recommend the inclusion of English from Standard I as part of the school curriculum The commission is of the opinion that “In the 21st century marketplace, languages are the new bargaining chips. They are tools of trade, no less or more; that is precisely why we must embrace them.” Learned and Scholar do feel that “Linguistic proficiency is the key to unlock doors of access and opportunities in a world where borders are blurring at a blink.”

Published: 2007-01-19
Author: Rama Kant Mishra

About the author or the publisher
I have done Masters in Fisheries Management and have written and published articles on Fisheries, Agriculture, Medical, Pharmaceutical, political, self Improvement and Career. Professionally working for an IT company as a Technical Writer. I love to write and publish and have worked as freelance writer, ghost writer and as special correspondent for print media. You may find me contributing on and You may reach me at mishraramakant@gmail.

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