MoI: Parading lies as truths

By Prabhakar Timble
12 May 2011 10:55 IST

A lie repeated a hundred times is perceived as truth.

  1. 1.      There is no freedom of choice of medium of instruction in Goa.

Freedom of choice of medium in education is guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. The Indian Constitution also guarantees freedom of speech, expression, business and religion. These are fundamental rights and cannot be abridged or diluted. However, with the lie that the freedom of choice of medium of instruction does not exist in Goa being bombarded by different groups and media, I am also a prey to this propaganda.

The truth is that all of us have the right to choose the medium of instruction. This right exists throughout India and in all the States. However, no State government in India provides grants to primary schools in all the mediums of instruction. Grants are provided only to schools where the medium of instruction at the primary level is the regional language. Just as citizens have the right and freedom to choose the medium, the government has the right to formulate the policy in respect of grants for different stages of education.  Grants or tax reliefs and exemptions from the government is not a matter of right of educational institutions.

  1. 2.      Parents are fighting for the right of choice of medium.

Feel the heat and the hot breeze blowing across you. You will perceive that the fight is for the right of parents to choose the medium of instruction at the primary level.

The truth is that the demand is not to assert the right. It already exists. The demand is for salary grants to teachers in primary schools where the medium of instruction is English. We have sufficient primary schools in all the required mediums of instruction. Every year new schools get added mainly in English medium. The demand is that the government should pay for the salaries of teachers in these schools. Instead of projecting the reality, the lie is sold that the fight is for the right of choice of medium.

  1. 3.      Parents choose the school depending on medium of instruction.

This is another white lie. The reality is parents tend to choose the school which they feel is suitable for them considering their social, religious, cultural and educational background.

Parents choose the school and not the medium. In my childhood days, parents used to normally choose the nearest village school since it would be comfortable for them and the child. Later, the trend was to enrol the child in the school in the neighbouring village, but not my village school. The perception was that the quality of education is better than the school in my village.

Now, the trend is to register the child in a town school. The reasons are varied. Some opt for schools affiliated to Central Boards rather than Goa Board thinking that the syllabus is tough and better for the child in future. Some others choose schools because of the atmosphere of teaching, infrastructure facilities and extra-curricular activities in the school. A few others choose depending on the exposure that the child will get for personality development. Some parents have the results and ranks at tenth standard in mind whilst choosing the primary school. Very few parents consider the atmosphere of fun and play and child centred learning in the choice of primary school. Here lies the tragedy for the child.

For some parents it is the school where they studied. For others, it is never the school where they studied. For some others it is the unaided school charging high fees including donations for special reasons known to the parents. Certain schools are chosen for discipline as it matches with the parents’ views on discipline. Some schools are brands in isolation of the medium of instruction.

  1. 4.      Child’s future depends on medium of instruction at primary level.

If parents perceive this as a reality, then it is a misfortune and I need to sympathise with the victims of such a view.

For disciplines like science, engineering, medicine, law, agriculture and medicine you need an analytical and problem solving mind. It is irrespective of English or Japanese. It is how you are taught to learn from primary level that determines the strength of the child. For employment the expectations are communication skills, innovation, creativity and commitment. These are the ‘mantras’ of the global and competitive world.  All these have less to do with mastery over any language.

  1. 5.      English is a videshi language.

This is another lie which apparently looks as true.

The market truth is that English is as ‘deshi’ as any other language. Vernacular at primary level of education does not mean not exposing the child to English language or giving less importance to English. It is to express creatively in English that the local language is needed at the primary stage. In a known language children will think better and express better. It will boost confidence and self esteem. The child will understand their surrounding and culture better.

Learning means also overcoming disabilities of learning. English at primary level will create more disabilities.  The practical policy is a multi- lingual approach mainly for societies which have gone through a long period of colonisation.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Prabhakar Timble

Mr Prabhakar Timble is an educationist and a legal expert. He has served several educational institutions, especially as the Principal of Government College at Quepem, Kare College of Law in Madgao as well as couple of Management Institutes. He was also the State Election Commissioner of Goa.

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