Many languages on the verge of extinction
Vijayawada: Mahatma Gandhi insisted that primary education should be in the mother tongue of the child. Learning to speak in the mother tongue is very important for a child’s overall development. Being fluent in mother tongue, which is also known as native language, benefits the child in many ways. It connects him to his culture and helps him in learning other languages.
It is really sad that very few realise the importance of the mother tongue while admitting their children in schools. They are carried away by the current trends which insist that if children study in their mother tongue, there will not be future for them.
In fact, if the child studies in his mother tongue at primary level, he will develop command over the language which makes him easy to learn other languages. Learning of concepts and skills starts with the language that is first taught to the child. Mother language has such an important role in framing our thinking and emotions.
Unfortunately, several hundreds of languages throughout the world have already become extinct and some more hundreds of them are on the verge of extinction. UNESCO estimates that out of the 6,700 languages in the world, half of them may extinct by 2100 CE.
SR Parimi, who is a structural engineer by profession,has been running an educational institution in the name of Vikasa Vidya Vanam near Vijayawada for the last 35 years, says that it has been widely accepted throughout the world that medium of instruction should be in mother language.
If the child is exposed to any language other than the mother tongue, there would surely be lack of understanding. Not only that the medium of instruction in other than mother tongue is leading to rote learning instead of conceptual understanding of the subject,” he says.
Even the poor are competing with the rich in sending their children to the English medium schools,” Parimi says. It is apt to mention here that a number of all India service officials are from rural areas who studied in their mother tongue.