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Sunday, Oct 15, 2006
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It is a welcome move coinciding with the golden jubilee of the State formation.
A person easily assimilates what s/he learns through her/his mother tongue. But many children studying in CBSE or ICSE schools cannot enjoy learning their subjects through the mother tongue. So these children would get a chance to enjoy the sweetness of the mother tongue when the Government implements the new programme.
Importance of English
No doubt Malayalam is the mother tongue of Keralites and it got its own importance. In all schools in Kerala, including English medium schools, Hindi, Sanskrit and Arabic are being taught. But, there should not be any bar on learning and using other languages, especially English, while giving importance to Malayalam. People are well aware of the importance of English language in the present computer age.
In the modern world, without English one cannot acquire knowledge. This is why people send their children to English medium schools. One cannot accept a policy avoiding the ground realities.
Muslim Educational Society
The decision of the Government to make Malayalam compulsory up to class IV in schools in Kerala from the next year on a par with some of those of other States which have introduced their mother tongue mandatory in their schools is indeed a remarkable step which would be well appreciated by almost all the people of Kerala. Whatever other languages, i.e., Indian or foreign, children have to study, it would not affect much with this new development.
Actually it is better for every child to start education in the language it speaks at home. Even in prestigious examinations such as civil services, national eligibility test, etc., all regional languages find equal place. As such, it would not be a waste of time if one is forced to study in mother tongue.
English medium schools have started posing a threat to their Malayalam medium counterparts in the public sector where English language acquisition has either been neglected or not much deliberately encouraged. On the other hand, English as a language promises wide scope as lingua franca in this globalised world. As a result parents are queuing up with their wards in front of one or another English medium institution paying high fees. Though all this is the prevailing trend, the decision of the Government to make Malayalam compulsory up to class IV is farsighted and praiseworthy.
A child who goes to a primary school is expected to be exposed to a wonderful world of variegated knowledge. He gets accustomed to this easily when introduced in his mother tongue. His awareness of the world, its culture with all its diversity builds a very strong bond between the mind and milieu thereby the socialisation of the brain takes place much easily. Whereas when things are communicated to him in a language that he has not yet acquired, the comprehension becomes partial and the visualised result cannot be attained within the stipulated period. This never does mean that English should not be introduced in the primary classes. Instead it has to be taught as a second language with due seriousness from the primary section onwards. Well-trained teachers have to be designated to put this mission into practice. The new decision of the Government must never be mistaken for an underestimation of English.
As Malayalis we have known the greatness of our language. We know the works of so many Malayalam writers like Vaikom Muhammed Basheer, Takazhi and Kamala Suraiyya were translated into so many foreign languages including English, French, Spanish and Arabic. Malayalam has its own cultural and historical backgrounds. We should perpetuate these backgrounds.
But so many educated people, though they got education through Malayalam medium, do not understand or try to understand the importance of Malayalam. Some pretend not having any knowledge in Malayalam. Those people turn to English in unnecessary situations. I understand English is a world language and it is used as a communicative language in India. But using English by avoiding Malayalam come from the old Indian colonial mind. Even now, many English medium schools avoid Malayalam in their syllabus. I fear this will harm our language. To protect Malayalam it should be taught from primary classes.
It is a bold step. If we conduct an independent study among the Keralites, especially among the educated, it will reveal an alarming fact that the Keralite is very poor in his mother tongue. It is a fact that even the teachers are not proficiency in Malayalam language.
It is indeed a brave decision and we should congratulate Education Minister M.A. Baby for this. Malayalam is our real mother and not foster-mother. Hence making our mother tongue compulsory means paving the way for the tiny tots to taste or drink the breast milk of their natural mother. Unable to read and write in Malayalam is really disgraceful. How can one who is born in the soil of Kerala, take pride without knowing Malayalam? Nowadays it has become a fashion for some parents to say that their children do not know Malayalam, which is one of the beautiful languages in the world. They say vigorously that they have a very little knowledge of it. This attitude should change.
They do not realise the fact that learning through a foreign language is equal to feeling the pulse beat by wearing gloves. We have immense to study from the people in Japan. It is nothing but their educational system (learning through their mother tongue), which helps them to achieve tremendous progress.
K. K. Rajan
Every language has its charm. The decision to make Malayalam compulsory in schools is a good move as far as other languages are also given equal importance. The idea is to provide basic knowledge of the local, national and international languages by the time the children finish their primary school education. To reduce the hectic schedule, teachers can come up with projects like newspaper reading in classes instead of learning language through textbooks only.
Dr. Rajasree Pai
A bad move
Rather than making regional languages compulsory, the Government should give more importance to the national and international languages which will pay much more dividend in this age of globalisation. Students should be given the option - they should be given an exposure to the basic languages for one to two years which will help them focus on the language of their choice.
Multinational companies prefer talent along with proficiency in English, where Keralities stand a better chance when compared to graduates from other south Indian States. Furthermore, knowledge of additional languages, especially foreign languages, is given additional merit in job interviews.
Dr. Raghesh V.K.
Ours is not a monolithic lingo nation. Therefore making Malayalam compulsory in Lower Primary Schools in the State is injurious to the interests of the wards of the migrant Malayalis. A large number of the latter seek admission for their children in the State. As such any move to make Malayalam mandatory may be avoided.
How a law like this come into being? It is because Kerala also does have a few language fanatics; other wise this is not required at all. Any thing compulsory revolts in every human being. Thank God, present political leaders did not ban English teaching in Kerala!
The decision is only on account of a narrow outlook and, as Swami Vivekananda said at the Chicago congress, many of them do have "a frog in the well mentality." If politicians send their innings for real development and creation of facilities for organising employment and eradicating poverty that may be service to the people. The LDF should not arrogate to themselves in spending their time to effect changes in the field where no fiddling is good.
According to many cultural activists, this is an apt decision to be implemented in the State for protecting our language and culture. As a Malayalam teacher I personally welcome the step and wish for a speedy implementation. This is a gift like decision on the eve of golden jubilee celebrations of Kerala's formation.
As part of the globalisation there is a strong move in the global market to form a one-world where we cannot see any identity for local cultures and languages. It aims to make a human model only with some mechanical ingredients. Any form of human essence or response will not be seen in this future model. If this provocative move is not taken with care, the small languages like ours will be perished in the near future.
A society with history has its own myths, beliefs, aspirations and artistic expressions by preserving the emotional and intellectual content formulated through the ages.
The people of Kerala have their own centuries old culture and it is solely preserved in our mother tongue - Malayalam. The total negation of mother tongue to the future generation is a conscious step to detach them from our own life-giving culture. This is what is happening in many schools in our State for the last many years.
By declaring this new decision to make Malayalam compulsory up to class IV, the Government gives an ideal leadership in attaching our coming generations with our tradition and culture.
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