Investing in EMI: Jagan’s English move for primary schools is a class act

Highlights

  • AP emulating Japan, Korea precedents
  • National Employability Report highlights importance

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh government is all set to introduce English as Medium of Instruction (EMI) at the primary school level across the State. 

With this move, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is catering to the long-pending demand for such a facility by parents from rural and semi-urban areas, who are mostly illiterates from lower castes and belonging to the lower economic strata.

Parents have realized that English language is the vehicle that can ensure social and economic upward mobility.

Incidentally, it is not just Andhra Pradesh, but the almost the non-English-speaking world, including Japan and South Korea, is gearing up to introduce EMI right from the primary school level.

India, as a nation, is witnessing a tectonic shift from EFL (English taught as a foreign language) to EMI. After all, English is the language of academic research and corporate governance. Nearly 95 percent of academic research material is published in English, which is the medium that helps one to sustain and conquer global competition.

Students keen on pursuing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) have to bank on their proficiency in the generally presumed global language. It is ditto with those aspiring for employment in the corporate sector. There is a global recognition that EMI at the primary level would prepare the student to meet the challenges the English language poses at the higher education levels.

The Union Government’s National Employability Report-Graduates 2013, conducted by Aspiring Minds, came up with the startling finding that t half of Indian graduates unfit for employment because of deficiency in language skills. The report said the employability of graduates varies from as low as 2.59 percent to 21.27 percent depending on the specializations like accounts, sales, and BPO/ITeS.  As much as 47 percent was declared ‘not employable’ in any sector, given their poor English and cognitive skills.

A section of intellectuals, however, is trying to foment opposition to the EMI in primary schools with old-fashioned arguments and emotive logic. These intellectuals, mostly well-settled retired government officials, language teachers and those who enjoyed an elevated status in society with their association with the Telugu language, cry foul at the EMI at primary level.

They state that EMI would undermine the mother-tongue and native culture. But, the concept of mother-tongue itself is a political construct of the nineteenth-century and they are forgetting the role English played in transforming the vernacular Telugu into the mother tongue.

Many scholars like Lisa Mitchell (Telugu) and Ashok K Mahapatra (Odiya) have studied how Indian languages transformed into mother-tongues through a process of standardization and translations to English or vice versa after the introduction of the printing press in India.  The attack on EMI is also politically motivated and is based on assumptions rather than practical difficulties.

Those critical of AP government’s decision argue that primary education has to be in the mother-tongue of the children as it is best suited for them at that tender age. If this is true, then how can one explain the success of millions of children of NRI parents, who have not studied in their mother-tongue? 

It is patently wrong to drag the issue of Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan’s three marriages to counter the criticism against EMI. Jagan’s vituperative attack on Pawan Kalyan is deplorable, but it cannot be a defense against EMI.

Now coming to the crux of the issue, the mere introduction of EMI does not guarantee academic growth of the child. The government should not give short shrift to issues of competence of teachers, teaching methods and quality and timely availability of textbooks, which combined together play a crucial part in achieving the EMI objective. 

If the gesture is politically motivated and ignores the creation of a proper EMI environment, the experiment is bound to end up as an academic disaster.

Also Read: https://newsmeter.in/pawan-slams-ap-government-for-bias-against-telugu-language/

Jinka Nagaraju

Jinka Nagaraju

Jinka Nagaraju is a senior journalist based in Hyderabad. Earlier worked with Vaartha, Times of India, Asianet Telugu, Asianet Newsable and Telugu360. He has been associated with many digital platforms for quite some time. Specialized in the anthropology of politics, Jinka has been in the field of journalism for about two and a half decades.

2 comments on "Investing in EMI: Jagan’s English move for primary schools is a class act"

  • Pawan Kalyan & Chandrababu talks too much, non-stop. Why?

    Chandrababu presented vision 2020 wherein he proposed (a) Universal, low-cost education & healthcare; (b) rural employment and (c) replacement of small investor with large corporations. With this he transferred education and healthcare to corporates by killing government systems. He also destroyed well established seed corporation and put in gold plater and handed it over to private seed companies. Even agriculture he tried to corporatize the industry and tested at Kuppam, a big failure. In this system land owners became labourers in their own land, deep bore-wells destroyed the neighbouring farmers’ wells. Mechanization destroyed the soil. He proposed in other districts in 10,000 acres each. This was introduced by keeping his heritage business. However it failed miserably. Everybody unfortunately talk of Israel technology forgetting the fact the climate conditions. On these I presented my articles on daily newspapers at that time and also on agriculture to counter Chandrababu’s white paper, I prepared black paper and was released in Assembly press gallery by CLP. Here countered the corporate agriculture and proposed cooperative farming under organic farming. Pawan Kalyan made no statement on these issues as he was twin brother of Chandrababu.

    Pavan Kalyan made a statement on Jagan observation whether his children are studying in English medium or Telugu medium schools. Instead of answering to the question raised by Jagan, he observed “you can also marry three or four”. That shows his scant respect for women. That means, if he becomes CM, he will bring a law that make people to go for more wives – it is an insult on womanhood/ motherhood. Pawan should feel ashamed for making such statements. He may not aware the fact when a rapist proposes to the court that he will marry the victim, court did not agreed on this but punished them. Unfortunately neither the courts nor the women organizations have not taken any initiative to punish him for committing and encouraging more wives. He should be banished from politics/public life.

    When Chandrababu allowed private players in education, health care, seed and agriculture by neglecting irrigation why Pawan did not raise his voice? Was there an underground understanding between them?

    I studied Telugu medium school [in palm leaves huts] and felt the pinch in college. That means, those who are studying in English medium schools have an upper hand over students from Telugu medium. That means Pavan is working for rich class at the cost of poor class.

    BJP leaders voiced their anger on Jagan, when he questioned Venkaiah Naidu on his children and grandchildren on medium of education. There is nothing wrong on the Jagan’s question as it relates to policy matter.

    Politicians must think before making statements.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  • Observations/Suggestions on “Mana Nudi & Mana Nadi” of Pawan Kalyan
    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy, 24th November 2019, [email protected]
    Dear Pawan Kalyan Garu,
    Though the idea of asking suggestions on Mana Nudi & Mana Nadi is a good idea; but this looks like “Thief crying Thief, Thief!!! Why I said this is basically because the main culprit on these two issues and as well as on sand, floods, Amaravati Capital, etc. is TDP Supremo Chandrababu and Pawan Kalyan and BJP as they were part of Chandrababu regime. When people are thirsty of water, Chandrababu was thirsty of money and found means to amass wealth is the path of “real estate” that destroyed & contaminated water resources and destroyed the environment of undivided Andhra Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation. He destroyed the state’s economy for which you are also a party. Nobody knows where the money has gone but yet he did not pay the dues!!!
    Mana Nudi
    Unfortunately when TDP-Chandrababu encouraged private schools in English medium [who in turn minted money and reaped to riches], which Pawan Kalyan & his partners BJP& TDP were silent. Why? You all received favours from such schools!!! Religious leaders from all religions around the world flourished with wealth and finally doomed. Jimmy Swarghat, Acharya Rajnesh, etc. are few such people. Before making loose statements like linking English with Christianity, get the following information from AP + TS:
    •How many children from Telugu states are in English Medium Schools/Coaching Centres;
    •How many children from Telugu states are in Telugu Medium Schools;
    •How many children from Telugu states are in other than English and Telugu Medium Schools;
    •How many children have no education;
    A friendly, Andhra Jyothi daily news paper presented some such figures in this week wherein it stated that around one-third school education was in English – In 15,759 Schools English is the Medium education out of 44, 659 Schools. Why Pawan Kalyan, BJP, TDP were silent? Now why are these people crying foul from the rooftop as if they are saviours of Telugu Language? All these raises doubts: Was TDP regime encouraged Christianity?
    To overcome your problem on Mana Nudi, the following is suggested:
    •You can initiate new Telugu Medium Schools with Janasena + TDP + BJP friendly multi-milliners support;
    Don’t you think this will fulfil your ambition of “Mana Nudi”?
    Mana Nadi
    Though you asked suggestions on Mana Nadi, you did not include the principal river of AP the Krishna but referred only Godavari & Tungabhadra. Is Krishna River not important to you & your friends??? Is it because your friends are the main culprits in the destruction & polluting the river Krishna? Whatever may be your agenda on this, the main culprits of destruction and polluting the water resources in AP & Telangana were TDP-Chandrababu with tacit support from Pawan Kalyan and BJP [most of them are unethical as majority of them are from Congress & TDP boys & girls]. On these issues you can verify from the APPCB records and cases filed [PILs] in Courts. Indiscriminate sand mining affected severely water resources including groundwater and thus water contamination. In this context we suggested way back to look in to using “rock-sand” and in fact builders worked on this.
    To save Krishna River from destruction & pollution, the following are few suggestions:
    •Create an atmosphere to remove all those illegal constructions in and on the banks of River Krishna, more particularly along the Amaravati;
    •Stop all those real estate ventures in Amaravati;
    •Look for a dry area away from Krishna River for AP Capital;
    Without these actions, there is no way you can stop the destruction and polluting the Krishna River. Clean up the Kolleru Lake [though Dr. YSR initiated in this direction corrupt politicians acted against it]. Stop polluting the rivers and drains by powerful industries and from domestic sewage from the urban areas along the rivers and drains.
    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
    Formerly Chief Technical Advisor – WMO/UN & FAO/UN
    Fellow, Telangana Academy of Sciences [Founder Member] –
    prior to this: Fellow of AP Akademy of Sciences
    Convenor, Forum for a Sustainable Environment

    @ Note:
    Kalavenkatrao Garu, day in and day out have been making cheap statements on Jagan. Here are few direct questions to him:
    •When AP High Court directed the CBI to enquire against Jagan & Chandrababu on corruption, why CBI in a supersonic speed started enquiry on Jagan and put him behind bars; and why Chandrababu case file was put in the Cupboard? Was there any link between Chandrababu and CBI? Don’t you think, when cases against two politicians came up for enquiry, CBI should have distributed the work among the available staff???
    •When the project of Shamshabad Airport was initiated why Chandrababu Government Shifted 2200 acres in to GO111 area of Himayatsagar Lake even against GO111 & Supreme Court order of December 2000 against his own government where in it has put “Precautionary Principle”. Who are the beneficiaries of this action; and how many thousands of crores TDP politician benefitted from this?
    •With the watersheds and Food for work, how much the TDP functionaries were benefitted [friendly media openly said this – people going by cycles are moving in BMW cars]?
    •Finally, why not all those TDP leaders who were part of 15 years Chandrababu rule can ask for CBI enquiry?
    Sjreddy

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