- English medium replaces Telugu medium.
- Govt issues GO amid political tussle.
- CM Jagan turns a deaf ear to Opposition’s concerns.
- Is hopeful in overcoming every challenge.
Veteran actress and cine field’s sweetheart Mrs Sridevi acted in the critically acclaimed movie ‘English Vinglish’, where she portrays a mother struggling to communicate in English, she faces shame and is sarcastically mocked at for her poor communication skill. She struggles a lot to learn a language quite essential to survive in the modern-day global village. I sometimes wonder, ‘What if she learned English as a school going child?’
Immediately after the announcement to transform Telugu medium Government schools to English medium, opposition swarmed to criticise and voice its concern. They called this move, ‘A betrayal to our mother and motherland’. Some language enthusiasts severely criticised and even accused the Chief Minister as a ‘Telugu language Murderer’. Prominent personalities like Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, JSP chief Pavan Kalyan, Leader of Opposition and TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu took turns in expressing their sincere concerns. Few BJP leaders tried to brand this move ‘an incentive to encourage religious conversions.’ The Government at one stage appeared to be cornered and a speculation circled in political circles that the Chief Minister might re-think his decision.
Cheeky yet effective
Chief Minister Jagan drew the blinds on all speculation and criticism by asking one simple question, ‘In which medium did your children study in?’ Though cheeky, this one question dented the Opposition’s narrative to a large extent. Key leaders in the party started firing from all ends, they didn’t hold back in criticising and branding these leaders as hypocrites, ‘These leaders only want their children to develop and are against the upliftment of backward classes’, they criticised. Majority of the people seem to be in agreement with the Government’s narrative. A popular news channel conducted a survey on numerous social media platforms and the lion share voted in favour of the Government’s decision. In democracy majority prevails, are the majority always right though?
Challenges: fabricated or real?
A few notable concerns are poor infrastructure, the proficiency of existing teachers to teach English, children’s adaptability, the lack of an option to study in Telugu medium. These problems need to be addressed and the Government acknowledged these concerns and are positive they would efficiently face and solve any and every challenge.
Nadu-Nedu: a flagship programme
As part of correctional measures, the Government started ‘Nadu- Nedu’, a flagship programme in which the Government is investing its pride. If everything goes according to plan, within three years Government schools in Andhra would receive a complete makeover, basic amenities like benches, drinking water, separate toilets for boys and girls would be provided. English language lab would be created to facilitate a smooth transition to English language mode of instruction. Every year around 3,500 crore rupees would be spent in doing so. This is a much-appreciated move as the majority of the population living par or below the poverty line would be hugely benefited. Parents are going the extra mile to afford education for their children, they do not wish for their children to go through hardships like they did. A consensus is reached towards the change of medium. Children too are enthusiastic and are welcoming this move. Teachers would undergo intensive training to cater to instruction in English. As an added incentive and push to encourage parents to send their children to school, every year the mother will receive 15,000 rupees.
Experts divided over Government’s decision
A scientific theory surfaced, suggesting that the holistic development of a child is possible only through education imparted through their mother tongue. A child can easily relate the subject matter with little or no pressure on the psyche. As most of the mothers are not equipped to tutor their children in English, the child might face certain difficulties. Experts and some child psychologists say otherwise, it is better to subject the child to a foreign language at a young age where cognitive and linguistic learning abilities are at their peak. Nowadays, most of the technical education is imparted in English language. Professional courses like MBBS, Engineering and other affiliated courses are offered in English medium of instruction. By studying in Telugu medium, children are under-equipped in facing today’s growing competitive job market. Interviewers generally favour candidates with superior language abilities.
Telugu will sustain
The only concern worth paying attention to is the fate of the grand language survived by our Telugu culture, language lovers are concerned that by the forceful introduction of English medium, Telugu would be ignored and gradually lose its significance over time. The extinction of the language would mean the extinction of the gloriously celebrated Hindu culture and tradition. Some simply crossed off this theory stating NRIs and people working in other Indian states are still connected to their roots. Recognised Hindu gurus re-iterated that it turned out impossible for ferocious foreign invaders to eradicate the Hindu way of life, a simple change in instruction would not yield contradicting result. The Government too is constantly emphasising the fact that Telugu as a subject is made compulsory. The possible repercussions cannot exactly be estimated right now as it would take at least a decade for the complete transformation.
Time will tell
For now, the ruckus over language subsided to a large extent. Owing to the thumping positive response from parents and children all over, the opposition’s voice toned down. They are only demanding to provide the option between the two mediums. Any other criticism now would go over people’s heads as they are positively welcoming this transition. Chief Minister Jagan’s strong will to reform the staggering education system is much appreciated. It is inevitable now to show restrain and hope for positive change.