India: Stress more on English: Knowledge Commission

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri May 12 11:53:49 UTC 2006

Stress more on English: Knowledge Commission

Vineeta Pandey
Friday, May 12, 2006

NEW DELHI: The world bows to the power of English. So, in this era of
cut-throat competition, Indians also need to tame the language. Due to its
global significance, chairman of the Knowledge Commission, Sam Pitroda,
will soon submit a set of recommendations to the government asking it to
revise its current language policy in education. While suggesting plans to
overhaul the countrys education structure, both at school and university
level, the Knowledge Commission wants the government to emphasize more on
English in order to make students equipped to face competition.

Pitroda quoted his colleague member Nandan Nilekani that out of 15,000
applications for jobs in Infosys, only 200 filtered through due to their
knowledge of English - a common communicating language. The
recommendations would emphasize on identifying appropriate levels by which
English can become a medium of instruction and modalities of implementing
it. We will come up with recommendations to make education more
competitive and accommodative, he said while acknowledging the need to
increase number of seats in institutions like IITs and IIMs.

On reservation for backward classes in premier educational institutions,
Pitroda has made the Commissions view clear before the Prime Minister
saying effective policies not reservation is required to make educational
institutions more socially inclusive. The Commission also advised PM not
to rush with the proposed quota in IITs, IIMs and Central Universities
without proper debate and careful thought. The PM, however, did not make
any comments on the quota issue. In its one-hour meeting with the Prime
Minister on Wednesday, the Commission discussed the expansion and
effective use of e-governance.

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