[lg policy] Bangalore: Kids know that English will open doors

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 27 13:55:00 UTC 2009

Kids know that English will open doors
Darinia Khongwir, TNN 27 July 2009, 02:16am IST

BANGALORE: English is the great leveller in India. It is a meal ticket
and the door to a better life for those who wish it. Chief Justice of
India K
G Balakrishnan has said that the language throws open the opportunity
to avail of clerical jobs. "They are unable to get even clerical
posts. It is easy to say things. How do we survive in the world?
Without English, students from villages cannot compete with their
peers in urban areas,'' was the CJI's observation while disposing of
the case on the language policy.

True enough, but not many children study in English. Statistically,
less than 10% of children in India study in private schools. It is
only this percentage that gain jobs in the organized sector. Now,
after even the Supreme Court has already upheld the Karnataka HC
judgment, what do children really feel about the language? TOI spoke
to primary school children of aided and unaided Kannada and English
medium schools if they think English will provide a better life for
them and how has it changed their lives. Kannada-medium schools have
English from Class V onwards, for an hour every day.

All the children TOI spoke with said they loved the English language,
because it was an easy subject and they can score too. The children
said learning English has given them the opportunity to read story
books, newspapers and watch foreign shows on television. Likith S, 10,
a Class 4 student of SSVM School, said he started reading the
newspaper. "Every morning, my father would make me read sections of
it. This has improved my language skills and I have developed an
interest in reading the newspapers. Kannada is easy to speak but I
can't manage the letters,'' said Likith, who speaks Telugu at home.

Students in the Kannada-medium say they have no difficulty picking up
the language. Ishwari N, a Class VII student of RV Girls School, wants
to be a doctor. She loves watching Hollywood movies, nature channels
and news on TV. "Now, I can watch foreign channels. The information
will help me open my mind. I know learning English will help me later
in life,'' said Ishwari. The 12-year-old tried her level best to
converse in English and kept alternating between English and Kannada.
Her teachers vouch for her intelligence and enthusiasm. "She can
understand but she can't express herself in English just yet,'' said
the principal.

Her classmate Priyanka R tries very hard to learn English because she
dreams of being a software engineer. "I study it every day because it
is the only way I will be able to get into a good engineering
college,'' said Priyanka. These children are very realistic for their
tender ages. Somehow, in their hearts, they know English will be able
to provide them the future they long for.

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