[lg policy] Lahore, Pakistan: Experts for use of regional languages in schools

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 30 15:39:57 UTC 2013

 Experts for use of regional languages in schools

 SENIOR educationalists at an event on Tuesday strongly criticised the
rulers for downgrading national and regional languages and instead creating
English language complex among the masses.

There was also consensus among them over the use of English as a Medium of
Instruction (MOI) at higher education level unlike Punjab government’s
present policy of English as medium of instruction in all the schools.

The event was organised by the Society for the Advancement of Education
(SAHE)/Campaign for Quality Education (CQE) in order to share its study
“Policy and Practice: Teaching and Learning in English in Punjab Schools”,
at a local hotel.

Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) Vice Chancellor Dr Sabiha
Mansoor and Dr Tariq Rahman spoke on the occasion. SAHE Chairman Abbas
Rashid and Salaeya Butt from SAHE shared details and findings of the study.

Dr Sabiha Mansoor termed the policy of English as medium of instruction in
schools as surrendering to British once again. “We are no longer a British
colony”, she said while adding we should take pride in our languages. She
particularly took to task Punjab government with regard to introduction of
English as medium of instruction in its schools since 2009. “What is wrong
with our national language? Why we are running after English when we need
this language for functional purposes only”, she questioned while stressing
that mother tongue was always helpful in learning process for

Dr Tariq Rahman said that state deliberately created discriminatory
policies saying elite class did not send children to public schools. “Elite
schools should be abolished”, he said while suggesting “English should be
reserved for higher education only.” The dejected educationalist, however,
added “This is not going to happen as elite is too powerful. The English
medium lobby can’t be defeated”, he added. About English as medium of
instruction in public schools Dr Tariq Rahman observed the said policy
simply failed to start as in practice the policy was different. “I wish
there was one policy for all”, he added.

Talking about the SAHE study Abbas Rashid said the study suggested that
there was need to review the policy of using English as a medium of
instruction in Science and Mathematics in the schools at earlier stages of

Abbas further said the study recommended that based on existing research
and global experience English needed to be taught at the primary level as a
subject from grade 1 or depending on the availability of competent teachers
and not as the MOI. According to the SAHE study perceptions among parents
and teachers with regard to the policy, as expected, a very high percentage
of parents i.e. 70 percent approved, equating the greater emphasis on
English with increased prospects for their children to learn English, a
skill they understandably value highly. During the question-answer session,
one of the participants Rana Atta of the Punjab Association of Subject
Specialist (PASS) said the government should not have turned all the
schools into English medium. He said the same was also the leading cause of
dropout among students at schools. He suggested that the government should
give an option to students and should introduce separate sections within a
school for Urdu medium and English medium students.

It is pertinent to mention here that British Council in collaboration with
School Education Department has launched Punjab Education and English
Language Initiative (PEELI) to train government schoolteachers and those
teaching at schools partnered with the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) in
skills in English language teaching.

PEELI Director Alan S Mackenzie also attended the event as a participant.


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