Teaching of English in Multilingual
Indian Classrooms of Higher Education
Prof. Bais Sunita Manoharrao
B.C.A. Prerana College, Gangakhed, Dist. Parbhani. (Maharashtra)
Ph. 94200-35799 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Every human being has three basic needs as food, cloth and shelter.
'Education' is the 4th and very much important need of human being.
Education means to know really about things. Education helps man to live
a comfortable life; it also helps him in every sector of human life.
Human being is an animal but he is different from other animals because
he has 'a brain' which is situated in his skull; it differentiates human
being from another animal. With the help of brain, human being thinks
about all the things, makes his decisions and solves the problem. Brain
is developed by education; man gets new knowledge and applys it in his
Human being learns new things earlier from his birth to the end of his
death. To learn means to know about something. Learning is the process
in education which have another side known as teaching. In India multi
languages are taught in classroom and also in higher education.
Education in India is divided into three form; according to Kothari
Commission (1966) the formula of education is as:- 10+2+3 and this 3rd
section is considered as the higher education. Higher education acts as
the third eye of knowledge for human being. In higher education
'English' is taught as second and compulsory language to all faculties
for example B.A., B.Com., B.Sc., B.C.A., B.C.S. and other also. English
is an international language, so its place is higher than any other
regional languages in our country; it taught in higher education to give
the precious treasure of knowledge and to link students with the world.
1) To study the concept of language.
2) To know the importance of English language.
3) To study the importance of teaching English in Higher Education.
4) To know the role of English language in higher educatin.
Research Medhodology :
Data is collected from the secondary method of collection from
reference books, daily newspaper, articles and internet.
1) English is an international language.
2) English is a link language.
3) English is a library language.
4) English language is a language of Science and Technology.
Language : Language is the basis of human progress. It is vitally
related to human culture. Without language, our civilization would have
been impossible. It is the means of social control. It enables us to
co-operate with another through meaningful nosies, i.e. spoken words.
Language is unique and dynamic; it is under the process of change. The
history of any language shows the change that language has undergone in
the course of time.
Language is human; is behaviour. Language has been defined in many ways.
Language is the system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human
communication. A satisfying definition of language is very difficult.
Yet it is a kind of means of communication. Language is an instrument of
thinking and a source of delight. Language is species specific. It is
species information. Some Antrologists try to define language within the
form of concept as follow:
Definitions of Language :
1) Otta Jesperson : "Language is the primary and most highly
elaborated form of human symbolic activity."
2) Encyclopaedia Britanica : "Language is a system of conventional,
spoken or written symbols by means of which human beings, as members of
a social group and participants in its culture, communicate."
3) C. L. Well : "Language is the expression of human personality in
words whether written or spoken."
Language has been defined in many ways. Language is the system of
arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communication among human beings.
A Satisfying definition of language is very difficult. We express our
feelings, attitudes, thoughts by using the particular language.
Anthrologists regard language as a form of cultural behaviour,
sociologists as an interaction between members of a social group.
Students of literature regard language as an artistic medium and
philosophers as means of interpreting human experiences. Chomsky, a
linguist in one of his books, "Reflections on Language" attempts to
determine the limits of what is "Knowable in thought." As a result, the
reflections on language became transformed virtually into a phylosophy
Importance of English Language in India :
English is a foreign language to Indians. English came in India with
the establishment of East India Company in the 16th century for business
purposes and its later imperialistic and expansive polices, Indian
estates were reduced to a single sovergin, political integrity under the
British control but the ruler cannot carry on the affaires without an
active participation of the ruled and for that matter in 1717 Danish
missionaries opened to charity school in Madras, then in 1818 the Bishop
of Calcutta founded a college to produce young preachers and to impart
acknowledge of the English language to Hindu and Muslims. In 1823 Mounth
Stuart Elfinsten in his minutes urged for opening of schools for
teaching English by this time the recommandations of Lord like Macauly
had been in circulation. Under the British rule English become a 'Ligua
Franka' of the educated class. 'Lingua Franka' means the language used
by different people for communication though their mother tongues are
After independence with the 1960 English became an official language.
Then with the pass of 'Kothari Commission (1964-66)', English became a
medium of instruction in all major universities of India and in present
day it is becoming a second language of India.
It is a fact that the conditions under which English is being taught in
our Indian Schools are not form satisfactory. Prof. V. K. Gokak- has
remembered, "Pupils are taught English for about six periods a week for
six years. But it has been estimated that they hardly know 1500 words by
the time they join University. It means they have hardly been able to
learn English words at the rate of one word per period. They donot know
to use the commonest structures" This is a very sad statement made on
the teaching and learning of English in our Indian Schools.
Role of English Language in Higher Education :
English though is a foreign language to Indian; but is taught as
compulsory or second language. Higher education means the education
which is given in Degree colleges and universities. In India after
independence with the 1963, English became an official language, then
with the passing of Kothari Commission also recommended, "no student
should consider qualified for university degree unless he or she has
acquired a reasonable proficiency in English."
Now in India there are 43 Central Universities, 266 State Universities
and other Universities; more than 480 Universities and 22,000 colleges
and 600 lakh students are taking higher education. The importance is
given of course to English language in these total universities because
English is playing an important role in higher education by its
following main characterstic qualities;
1) English as International Language : The importance of English as an
international language can be judged from the fact that there is no
country in the world where a speaker of English can not be understood.
English is spoken by 350 million people in the world. English is the
widespread language all over the world. English is the language of
international politics. It is one of the six official language of U.N.O.
It is the language of commonwealth countries. English is the language of
international trade and industries. Commerical correspondence among
various nations of the world is educated in English.
English is the language of cultural give and take. Gandhiji Said,
"English is a language of diplomacy and it contains many a rich
treasure, it gives us an introduction to Western thought and culture."
It is English that has made possible the exchange of teachers and
students in different parts of the world. It is English again that has
opened world wide opportunities for employment.
2) English as the Library Language : With the passing of Kothari
Commission English became a library language, in India. In brief we can
say that library language is the language for reading and study of
printed material. This helps to get more and better knowledge in the
world. The Radhakrishnan Commission also recommends the importance of
English as a library language. According to this commission, English
must continue to be studies because in all over the world a great
quantity of knowledge is in English language and unless we gain, fluency
in English we are unable to acquire that knowledge. English is a rich
store house of knowledge. There is hardly anything important in the
world that has not been translated into English. Now a days the speaker
and learner of English language are in India. English as an important
library language would play a vital role in higher education. No student
should be considered as qualified for a degree, in particular, a
master's degree unless he has been acquired a reasonable proficiency in
3) English as a Link Language : English Language plays a significant
role as a link language in India. In India every state have their own
mothertongue; it is only English that serves as a link between one state
to another. English is the language of trade and industry in India not
only that the official correspondence between the union Government and
non-Hindi speaking states is conducted in English. English is used
increasingly for interstate purposes. English has served as a unifying
factor in the country. Speaking of the role of English as a link
language, Jawaharlal Nehru once said, "If you push out English, does
Hindi, fully take its place? I hope it will. I am sure it will. But I
wish to avoid the danger of one unifying factor being pushed out without
another unifying factor fully taking its place. In that event there will
be a gap, a hiatus. The creation of any such hiatus or gap must be
avoided at all costs. It is very vital to do in the interest of the
unity of the country. It is this that leads me to the conclusion that
English is likely to have an important place in the forseable future."
The statement helps to gain the importance of English as a link
4) English as Window to the World : Jawaharlal Nehru said, "English is
our major window on the world." This means English gives us glimpses on
the various developments taking place in the world. English provides us
distelled essence of modern knowledge in all fields of human activity."
F. G. French syas, "A traveler who can speak English will find somebody
who can understand him wherever he may go; anyone who can read English
can keep in touch with the whole world without leaving his own house."
English is the pipeline for the stream of knowledge. The observations of
the Radhakrshnan University Education Commission in this regard are
'Pertinent'. It is a language which is rich in literature, humanistic,
scientific and technical. If under sentimental urges we would give up
English, we would cut ourselves off from the living stream of ever
growing knowledge; our standards of scholarship would fast deteriorate
and our participation in the world. English is the only means of
preventing our isolation from is the world and we will act universly if
we allow ourselves to be enveloped in folds of a dark curtain of
Rightly did Jawaharlal Nehru remarks, "All regional languages must be
developed and prompted; but that did not mean that English should be
discarded to do that will amount for closing a window on the world of
technology. Foreign languages served as window on it and to suppose that
translations could take their place was a mistake. It was no use getting
into an intellectual prison after achieving political independence."
English language though as a foreign language; keeping in view the
role of English as an international language, as a window on the
outworld, as library and a link language both in India and abroad, we
mst say that we cannot dispense with the study of English; it will be
suicidal to do without English language in higher education.
Reference Bookss :
1. Dr. N. S. Sahu : Aspects of Lingustics Prakash
Book Depot, Bareilly. second edition : 1990.
2. Dr. Rajkumar M. : Communicaton Skills-I, Nikita Publication, Latur.
Lakhadive 1st edition : 21st Oct, 2007.
3. An article by : Changing trends in Higher Education- Daily Lokmat
Dr. Vijay Khare dated onl 29th Jan, 2012.
4. Bembalge M. M. : Quality in Higher Education-Impact of Globlization
Higher Education, 2012
5. R. S. Sharma : Measurement and Evaluation Techniques Educational
Perspective Published 2006
6. N. Kumar : Educational Technology Theory and Practices, First Edition
7. A. George : The Grammar of Teching and Learning, First Published :
8. B.N. Dash & Others : A Textbook of Educational Psychology, First
(Published in Kafla Intercontinental
- Jan-April 2013)