Telugu medium may become extinct in AP, TS

Telugu medium may become extinct in AP, TS
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Highlights

Both the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, instead of promoting the mother tongue Telugu, are taking steps to relegate it to second language status.

Both the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, instead of promoting the mother tongue Telugu, are taking steps to relegate it to second language status. The nagging question for educationalists is whether introduction of another language in the place of mother tongue would be helpful for the development of people and the state.

Several studies have already revealed that the students who studied primary education in mother tongue would excel in all fields. The latest study by the Oxford University also confirmed this. The future of people and the state would be in peril if Telugu is ignored. One has to maintain balance in solving this riddle. There should be Telugu and English media simultaneously

Telugu medium is likely to become extinct in the school education in Telangana State. According to the statistics released by the education department, there were 61.78 lakh pupils during the academic year of 2013-14 in schools in the 10 districts of the State. As many as 28.99 lakh students were studying in Telugu medium and 30.72 lakh in English medium.

The rest of the 2.07 lakh were studying in Urdu, Marathi, Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, Tamil, Gujarati, Odia media. If the statistics of 2014-15 and 2015-16 are revealed, the number of Telugu medium students would further come down. So is the case more or less in Andhra Pradesh also. Both the Telugu States are facing a strange conundrum where the official language would turn into a minority language. No other state in the country is facing such an odd phenomenon.

Primarily, there are four reasons for this: One, almost all the students who joined in the private schools during the last two decades joined in English medium schools; second, English medium was introduced in the place of Telugu medium in the Government Residential schools; third, English medium classes were introduced in government and zilla parishad high schools from 2008-2009 academic year under the Central sponsored ‘SUCCESS’ programme; fourth, all the 700 students, who joined in the another Central sponsored programme ‘English medium Model Schools’ started from June, 2013, shifted from the Telugu medium in the government schools.

It may be recalled that the TRS government has been announcing time and again that the KG-to-PG free education scheme would be completely in English medium. The government also stated that 1,190 KG-to-PG Education Centres at the rate of ten in each Assembly constituency would be established and 7.5 lakh students would be accommodated in them. All these students would also be shifted from Telugu medium schools.

On the other hand, some associations, organisations and even political parties have been demanding introduction of English medium in government primary schools. More than 500 schools have already introduced English medium in several districts including Karimnagar, Nizamabad and Nalgonda among others even without seeking permission from the government.

This situation only helps the private English medium school managements. The Telangana Registered Schools Managements Association (TRSMA) has already been lobbying with the government to give permission to abolish Telugu medium in their schools and shift all the four lakh students to the English medium.

If they succeed in their endeavour, the Telugu medium would be completely wiped out in the school education. Deputy Chief Minister Kadiyam Srihari was quoted in the news reports as saying, “What would happen? Telugu would be the second language.” That means the State government is hell bent on making English first language in the Telugu state of Telangana.

India is a multilingual country with as many as 1,682 languages in usage. The major languages are 22 spoken by 94 per cent of the population. They include Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dongri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Mythili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odiya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

These are the languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution as official languages. The official language is described as one which is used for administration affairs, communication, laws, and legislatures. It has been decided that English which has been official language before independence should be continued for 15 years as official language to make enactments, use in judicial courts and official communication.

But it is still in vogue even after 68 years. Moreover, it is all the more strengthened after globalisation and privatisation. The Constitution envisages that the primary education should be in the mother tongue and the respective official languages in the states should be medium of instruction in those states. It also stated that religious minorities should be allowed to study in their preferred languages.

Therefore, the Telugu medium was taught in the schools in the united Andhra Pradesh. The second official language Urdu and eight other varieties of minor media including English are in the schools run by the government. The rules and regulations in the State Education Act state that the English medium should be permitted for the sake of the children of Anglo-Indian community.

The importance for English language has increased with its use as official language, government orders and the judiciary. In the wake of globalisation and privatisation, the private school managements have taken cue and introduced more English medium schools. Moreover, the government was also lenient towards them.

Nobody cared for the argument that English could be learnt as language and it was not necessary at the primary education level. The apologists of English medium point out that the students who studied in Telugu medium at primary level could not cope up with English medium at the secondary level. When the government itself is more inclined towards English medium, nobody could do anything for the sake of Telugu medium.

The nagging question for the educationalists is whether the introduction of another language in the place of mother tongue would be helpful for the development of people and the State. However, several studies have already revealed that the students who studied primary education in mother tongue would excel in all the fields and who studied in Telugu medium have achieved considerable command over English in the later stage.

The latest study by the Oxford University had also confirmed. Only a few could garner jobs in the private sector and abroad. Nobody could say definitely that everyone who studied in English medium would excel in life. It is gross unjust to impose the language which is actually useful for a few. Generally, parents believe that English medium would help their wards to excel in life.

The government should explain to them as to how far it is impractical. People have many aspirations. Why the government was inclined to meet this aspiration of English medium ignoring all others? In essence it only helps the private education businessmen, corporate firms and multinational companies.

Against this backdrop, everyone should respond positively to set right this malady in the education sector. The games of the education businessmen who are undermining the Telugu medium and the attitude of the government in supporting them should be exposed. At the same time, the people’s aspirations in the wake of privatisation, globalisation and job opportunities should be understood.

If they think the future would be bleak without English, they should be unequivocally told that the future of people and the state would be in peril if Telugu is ignored. One has to maintain balance in solving this riddle. There should be Telugu and English media simultaneously. The parents should be given freedom to join their children in the medium of their choice. The government should take up the responsibility of awareness over the importance of Telugu.

There should be a single policy of education both in government and private schools. Telugu medium should be introduced in private schools where there is only English medium. If the government is inclined, it is not a big deal. It is high time the Telugu governments learned a lesson or two from our neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The Karnataka government moved the Supreme Court against the private schools managements to make them implement the government order imposing Kannada medium in the private schools. The Tamil Nadu government by fighting against the Central government and Karnataka by challenging the education businessmen are preserving their mother tongues.

Both these States are miles ahead of the two Telugu States in developing the education. History would not forgive our rulers if they ignore Telugu medium in the name of English. (The writer is Vice-President, School Teachers Federation of India)

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