Teaching of English in Multilingual Indian Classrooms of Higher Education

Prof. Bais Sunita Manoharrao
B.C.A. Prerana College, Gangakhed, Dist. Parbhani. (Maharashtra) - India
Ph. 94200-35799 <mkavhave@gmail.com>


Introduction :

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 life.

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.

Objectives :
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.
Hypothesis :
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.

Concept :
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 of science.

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 different.

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 English.

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 language.

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 ignorance.

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."

Conclusion :
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 on
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 : 2009.
7. A. George : The Grammar of Teching and Learning, First Published : 2004
8. B.N. Dash & Others : A Textbook of Educational Psychology, First Edition 2002.

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Author

(Published in Kafla Intercontinental - Jan-April 2013)