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Language in Education Policy: ExpertsOur knowledge is incomplete and our stance is weak without considering the opinion of the people who are professionally involved in academia. In this section, we narrate and discuss the opinions of the experts who analyse the behaviour, history and growth of our society in relation to its culture.
We interviewed the following people:EXPERT 1Ph.D Anthropologist, author, writerEXPERT 2Newspaper Editor and former Journalist at Geo NewsEXPERT 3Child Psychologist in CMH AJKEXPERT 4Deputy Secretary in Education Department AJKEXPERT 5CEO at Al-Ameen Educational SocietyExperts’ opinions diverge greatly from those of parents and teachers who parted with English medium policy. The experts on the other side are a strong advocate of multilingual policy. According to them, a human should be introduced to formal education in a language which is already known to him.
Only then, he will be able to grasp the founding concepts of his education. Experts are of the views that in order to begin learning that one already has otherwise the process of learning not only becomes difficult but also ineffective.EXPERT 1 puts forward the ground reality of our society and says:”English medium policy may seem like a best way to effective formal education but this way goes against the reality of our society in which most of the children come from background in which they have never been exposed to English.”While keeping in view the menace of a foreign language as a medium of instruction in schools at primary level, EXPERT 1 argues:”The education of a child is at risk when he begins in a foreign language as it is evident from multiple researches that children whose medium of education is not their mother tongue suffer failure and gets disappointed. The policy makers do not keep in mind the dangers that comes with the foreign language. The children who are a future of any nation grows with a weak base and it also makes them less confident.
The policy makers are also enchanted by the wrong prevailing concept in the society about the English language.”EXPERT 2 also endorses the multilingual learning environment. EXPECT 2 highlights the research of UNESCO, 2008 and says:”According to expert, a child first language is the optimal language for learning and literacy.”According to EXPERT 2, we live in a socially and culturally diverse country where all kinds of policies should be reasonably flexible to make all the components of the society work. Only a multilingual education policy best fits our needs. The risks that come with the English language policy outnumbers its advantages.
EXPERT 2 also highlighted the successful implementation of multilingual policy in the schools of Khyber Pakhtun Khwa district. The implementation gave us better results than expected. The children took interest in their learning an also developed reasonable amount of confidence. Their concepts were more vivid and they could easily express themselves without hesitation. The children could easily exhibit their abilities and skills without the gap of language.EXPERT 3:Another adherent of multilingual policy highlights one of the greatest threats of English language as a primary medium of instruction as:”The purpose of education i.e. learning is suppressed through English language policy as the children resort to cramming the knowledge instead of absorbing it.
The may get good grades through rote learning but the basis of their learning process becomes fragile, the identification of which happens in the later stage of life when it is too late.”He further says:”English language policy can only be made effective if it is accompanied with an already known language. And discussions in both the known language and the English language can make it easier to understand and relate both the languages. Memorizing English text from books and not being able to understand is futile.
“EXPERT 4:EXPERT 4 also shares similar sentiments but he considers poor way of implementing English the English language policy as one of the paramount causes of its failure.EXPERT 4 says:”We can not simply deny the importance of an international language which is used to communicate on a foreign platform. But it is also true that we are failing at implementing it in useful way.
The teachers are not competent enough and the methods of teaching are not guided. There is no question on this that English should be taught in schools even at primary level but it should not be taught in a way to replace the mother language. English should be treated as a second language and children should also be taught their national and cultural languages.”While focussing on the very purpose of education, EXPERT 5 says,”A child is admitted to a school in order to learn but English language policy serves as an extra step on the ladder of learning which has to be climbed at the same time when the child has to learn the sciences, maths and arts. Therefore, this policy does not match the policy of learning.”