Picking the right medium of instruction | Pakistan Today

Picking the right medium of instruction

  • Is English a necessity or does it establish a hegemony?

 “If you speak to a man in a language he understands, you speak to his head.  If you speak to a man in his own language, you speak to his heart.” 

-(Nelson Mandela, 2007)

By: Ayesha Mahjabeen

Education plays a key role in national development. It makes for a sense of responsibility among the people. The economic development and prosperity of a nation are promoted by a good quality of education, and when people become skillful and educated they play their roles in overall national development.  Pakistan is a developing country. Its economy is weak. There is a lack of political stability, a huge increase in violence and terrorism activities, and social unrest. All these problems are directly or indirectly linked with the poor and weak education system in Pakistan. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, it is felt that there is a shortage of skilled professionals in the field of teaching, especially at the higher education level. This messy situation has caused a great hindrance to the education system in Pakistan.

As every nation becomes prosperous by gaining education in its own language, then why does Pakistan use English as the medium of instruction? On the one hand, it provides access to jobs. On the other hand, a huge number of children fail to understand basic lessons and are reduced to rote memorization because of inadequate language skills. Approximately a third of all students at primary level attend a private school in Pakistan. This division of public and private schools leads to a lack of uniformity in our country, in both rural and urban areas. The current situation of Pakistan is quite below standard. The educational systems in Pakistan are giving birth to a dissimilarity and division of social classes in Pakistan. As we have three types of systems of education working in parallel, English medium, Urdu medium and Deeni Madaris. They all are following their own medium of instruction and this shows the most miserable picture of the whole community.  Every social class goes for a separate system of education for their children, like the upper class, upper middle class and middle class who can afford the huge fee charged by renowned institutions, send their children to English-medium institutions. Members of the lower middle-class, who hardly can afford the basic needs of food and shelter, have as their first priority the educating of their children, send them to Urdu-medium schools as they were of the opinion that at least their children will become educated. Some very religious people, or poor people who can’t afford the expenses of schools at all, send their child to Deeni Madaris, where the medium of instruction is totally different, and where they are used to speak in Arabic or in their native or regional language. This situation is no doubt the murder of integrity and uniformity in Pakistan.

From this, I can also relate that if we want human development it is necessary to use our own national or native language which leads to better understanding of basic concepts and then we can get prosperity and economic development. Once Urdu is declared as the national language to be adopted as a medium of instruction at all levels of education, it will begin to take care of things on its own. Language creates width in its flow over time

Pakistan has five major vernacular or native languages which are provincial languages, and some other regional languages, and Urdu is our national language, and we should be proud of our languages. Progress cannot come without using your own language. We have many examples of developed or developing countries who made progress by educating their nation in their own mother tongue. As it is not possible for a man to walk with the legs of others, or see with the eyes of others, it is equally impossible for him to think in the language of others.

I can best explain this with example of Holy Quran, as it was revealed by the Almighty in Arabic and Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to convey teachings in that language because it was the mother tongue of the Arabs at that time, so they understood it very clearly without facing any problem.

From this, I can also relate that if we want human development it is necessary to use our own national or native language which leads to better understanding of basic concepts and then we can get prosperity and economic development. Once Urdu is declared as the national language to be adopted as a medium of instruction at all levels of education, it will begin to take care of things on its own. Language creates width in its flow over time.



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