[lg policy] Over to ‘Urdish’

Abdul Manan . rm_manan at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 27 18:41:34 UTC 2015


Over to ‘Urdish’
ZUBEIDA MUSTAFA — PUBLISHED AUG 21, 2015 01:27AM
| The writer is the author of The Tyranny of Language in Education: The Problem and its Solution. |

LANGUAGE continues to be an enigma in Pakistan. For the umpteenth time education is being ‘reformed’ in this country. Federal Minister of Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has now announced that ‘Urdish’ will be used as the medium of education in the country.This is the first time Urdish (not Urlish) is being introduced officially. According to the minister, this initiative will rid the country of the “English medium-Urdu medium controversy that has damaged education standards and adversely affected the growth of young minds.”Explaining the connotations of Urdish as a medium, the minister said that English terminologies of science and technology would be blended with the Urdu narratives rather than adopting Urdu translations. No one has really quarrelled with that; many English words have become so integrated into Urdu that they are generally familiar and it would create problems to introduce newly coined convoluted Urdu terms. I always use the word television when I speak of the idiot box in Urdu as I don’t know of an Urdu equivalent. But I do protest when the Urdu word ‘awam’ is substituted by the word ‘commoners’.
When children are denied their own language, they never learn to think.
However, if the minister believes such gimmickry will satisfy those who clamour for English, he is wrong. Moreover, the introduction of Urdish will not boost students’ academic achievements or teach them civic responsibility and respect for diversity and tolerance, as the minister seems to believe.That said, the three other initiatives Mr Iqbal promised simultaneously could change the education scene if implemented honestly and in earnest. They are: altering the curricula, reforming the examination system while making it transparent, and training the teachers. These as well as the language issue lie at the crux of the education crisis in Pakistan today.It is shocking that even very intelligent and highly educated educationists fail to understand the direct relevance of language to academic standards.Primary education is the base of all education. If it is flawed it will be difficult for it to sustain the weightier structure of higher education. Since ours is not a child-centric society we tend to ignore the needs of children when they start school. We also tend to confuse the use of a language as a medium of instruction and the teaching of one as a second language.Our ignorance and politicisation of language issues has led to mass confusion and also resulted in the unnecessary controversy that the minister referred to. Young children instructed in their mother tongue have a better understanding of what they are taught which facilitates their cognitive development. Moreover language is the vehicle for thought and when children are denied their own language, they never learn to think.It is time we re-thought our aspiration to use English as the medium in school, something that the minister has tried to gloss over with his idea of Urdish. We need to shed the myth that by using English as the medium we can kill two birds with one stone: teach children English as well as the subject being taught. In reality they learn neither.If these arguments make no sense, the basic facts should be more convincing. There is empirical evidence that a preponderant majority of teachers in Pakistan are not proficient in English. When the Punjab government tried to introduce English as the medium of instruction in 2013, it had to rescind its orders a few months later. The teachers actually pleaded with the authorities to spare them this torture as English was not their forte.As it is, teachers also need to be trained in pedagogy and the subjects they are teaching. Burdening them with English as well is a recipe for disaster. Why not make a beginning in our own languages?That doesn’t mean that children don’t need to learn the basics of English as a second language. That can be taken care of by training only the required number of teachers as English language teachers who should know the modern methods of language teaching.Language also has a social dimension that impinges on the employment sector. We are made to believe that English is good, Urdu/indigenous languages are bad. This is not true. The quality of education depends on the quality of teaching, textbooks and, above all, how much a child is motivated. The argument that we do not have books in our own languages smacks of ignorance. Textbooks are developed in response to demands. If this approach is adopted, by the time children complete their schooling, the small percentage of children who opt for higher/technical education could build on their basic knowledge of English to become bilingual. The others would still find productive jobs that do not require expertise in English. We must shed our bias against our own languages.The writer is the author of The Tyranny of Language in Education: The Problem and its Solution.www.zubeidamustafa.comPublished in Dawn, August 21st, 2015On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google PlayEmail feedback and queries to Dawn.com's editorial team, or visit our contact page 
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Today's Topics:

  1. TOC: Journal of Language & Politics Vol. 14,    No. 2 (2015)
      (Harold Schiffman)
  2. Sushma Swaraj raises issues faced by Indian students in
      Germany (Harold Schiffman)
  3. India, Germany close to resolving German language row
      (Harold Schiffman)
  4. South Africa: Stellenbosch University to answer to    Parliament
      (Harold Schiffman)
  5. Canada: FedEx urged to change invoice language policy:
      (Harold Schiffman)
  6. Vermont: Burlington?s pick for superintendent of schools
      lands visa (Harold Schiffman)


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:46:33 -0400
From: Harold Schiffman <hfsclpp at gmail.com>
Subject: [lg policy] TOC: Journal of Language & Politics Vol. 14,    No.
    2 (2015)
To: lp <lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu>
Message-ID:
    <CAB7VSRCvMUoTKxjbyGHUhm7ZqTGEF_hkckAB=Do_c2gzCR_cjg at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Journal of Language & Politics Vol. 14, No. 2 (2015)


Journal Title: Journal of Language & Politics
Volume Number: 14
Issue Number: 2
Issue Date: 2015


Main Text:

2015. iv, 143 pp.

Table of Contents

Revisiting the apology as a speech act: The case of parliamentary apologies
James Murphy
175 – 204

Aligning language to ideology: A socio-semantic analysis of communist and
democratic mass media language in Bulgaria
Anastasia Smirnova
205 – 232

‘Saying sorry’ in Turkey: The Dersim massacre of the 1930s in 2011
Ibrahim Efe and Bernhard Forchtner
233 – 257

Deliberations in the Turkish parliament: The external perceptions of
European foreign policy
Meltem Müftüler-Baç and Rahime Süleymanoğlu-Kürüm
258 – 284

The shifting representation of common people in China’s news media
Wei Zhang
285 – 308

Reviews

P. Bayley and G. Williams (eds.) (2012). European Identity: What the Media
Say. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199602308 (hb), pp. 336,
£62
Reviewed by Samuel Bennett
309 – 313

A. Egan-Sjölander and J. Gunnarsson-Payne (eds.) (2011). Tracking
Discourses: Politics, Identity and Social Change. Lund: Nordic Academic
Press. ISBN: 978-91-85509-39-3 (hb), pp. 342, EUR 40.
Jay Michael Woodhams
314 – 317

http://linguistlist.org/issues/26/26-3778.html

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Message: 2
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:50:55 -0400
From: Harold Schiffman <hfsclpp at gmail.com>
Subject: [lg policy] Sushma Swaraj raises issues faced by Indian
    students in    Germany
To: lp <lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu>
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Sushma Swaraj raises issues faced by Indian students in Germany
By PTI | 27 Aug, 2015, 12.56PM IST
Post a Comment
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/sushma-swaraj-raises-issues-faced-by-indian-students-in-germany/articleshow/48694119.cms#write>

[image: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) enters the room
with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (C) prior to talks at the
foreign ministry in Berlin.]German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
(R) enters the room with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (C) prior to
talks at the foreign ministry in Berlin.

BERLIN: India has raised with Germany problems like residency status,
renewal of visa and accommodation faced by Indian students in the country
as both sides discussed new initiatives to ramp up cooperation in the area
of education.

This was conveyed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to German
Education
Minister <http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Education-Minister>
Johanna Wanka when they met here yesterday.

During the meeting, Swaraj apprised Wanka about difficulties being faced by
some of the Indian students in pursuing their studies in Germany, like
residency status, renewal of visa and accommodation, External Affairs
Ministry
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/External-Affairs-Ministry>
Spokesperson <http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Spokesperson> Vikas
Swarup <http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Vikas-Swarup> said.

The number of Indian students in Germany has gone up significantly in the
last few years.

Currently, more than 10,000 Indian students are studying in Germany while
around 800 German students are pursuing various courses in India.

Both sides also decided to promote exchange of students as well
collaboration between educational institutions of the two countries.

Wanka told Swaraj that Germany was planning to set up an international
centre for advance studies in humanities and social science in India as
part of a series of new initiatives to ramp up cooperation in areas of
education and science and technology.

Germany agreed to participate in India's ambitious programme -- Global
Initiative for Academic Networks
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Networks> (GIAN) under which
German academician and faculties will be able to teach in educational
institutions in India.

Germany has also agreed to participate in India's skill development
initiatives.

"We want closer ties with Germany in skill development initiative. The
External Affairs Minister and German Education Minister discussed a whole
range of issues pertaining to cooperation in education and skills sector,"
Swarup, who is part of Swaraj's delegation, said.

Both sides are also working on a number of other initiatives to ramp up
cooperation in the education sector.

Asked about Germany's plan to set up an international centre for advance
studies in humanities and social science, he said, they are identifying a
partner institute for it.

The sticky German language issue also figured in the meeting.

India and Germany are close to resolve the issue and an announcement about
it is likely to be made during Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to India in
the first half of October.

As per the broad understanding between the two sides, India will continue
to teach German as an additional language in keeping with its
three-language policy, while Germany will promote Indian languages
including Sanskrit in their educational institutions.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/sushma-swaraj-raises-issues-faced-by-indian-students-in-germany/artic

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Message: 3
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:52:38 -0400
From: Harold Schiffman <hfsclpp at gmail.com>
Subject: [lg policy] India, Germany close to resolving German language
    row
To: lp <lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu>
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    <CAB7VSRAReaCx4sMXOCQdo5h4v2DFF175n21Rqrs-RXOqGusLKQ at mail.gmail.com>
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India, Germany close to resolving German language row
By PTI | 26 Aug, 2015, 07.58PM IST
Post a Comment
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/india-germany-close-to-resolving-german-language-row/articleshow/48685359.cms#write>
*READ MORE ON » *Sushma Swaraj
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Sushma-Swaraj> | India
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/India> | Germany
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Germany> | Angela Merkel
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Angela-Merkel>
[image: India and Germany are close to resolving the sticky German language
issue, a row that had injected a bit of sourness in bilateral ties last
year.]India and Germany are close to resolving the sticky German language
issue, a row that had injected a bit of sourness in bilateral ties last
year.
*ET SPECIAL:*Love visual aspect of news? Enjoy this exclusive slideshows
treat! <http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/slideshows.cms>
BERLIN: India <http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/India> and Germany
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Germany> are close to resolving
the sticky German language issue, a row that had injected a bit of sourness
in bilateral ties last year.

An announcement on the resolution of the issue is likely to be made during
Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to India in October.

The issue figured prominently during External Affairs Minister Sushma
Swaraj's meeting here today with her German counterpart Frank-Walter
Steinmeir and both sides discussed contours of a resolution.

As per the broad understanding between the two sides, India will continue
to teach German as an additional language while Germany will promote Indian
languages including Sanskrit in their educational institutions.

"We are almost close to resolution of the issue. Both sides hope to make
the announcement during Chancellor Angela Merkel's upcoming visit to
India," official sources told PTI.

They said both sides were happy that the issue is being resolved.

"Basically what we have said all along is that we will continue to teach
German as an additional language in keeping with our three language policy.
So we will continue to do that. In Germany, they will promote Indian
languages including Sanskrit," said the sources.

The Human Resource Development ministry had in November decided to
discontinue teaching of German as an alternative to Sanskrit and cited
"national interests" for its decision.

Germany had criticised the decision and the issue was also raised by Merkel
during her meeting with Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in
Brisbane in November last year. Modi had assured her at that time that his
government will look into the matter and try to work out an amicable
solution.

Sanskrit was introduced as a third language in Kendriya Vidyalaya Schools
on the basis of a memorandum of understanding signed between the KVS and
the Goethe Institute in 2011.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit here in April, both sides had
agreed to encourage the teaching of each other's languages within the
framework of their national policies.

Merkel will visit India in the first half of October for the
inter-governmental consultation. She will be accompanied by a high-level
delegation comprising a number of ministers, government officials and top
executives of a number of leading German companies.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/india-germany-close-to-resolving-german-language-row/articleshow/48685359.cms

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Message: 4
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:54:10 -0400
From: Harold Schiffman <hfsclpp at gmail.com>
Subject: [lg policy] South Africa: Stellenbosch University to answer
    to    Parliament
To: lp <lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu>
Message-ID:
    <CAB7VSRDvD=uT6SX0hFBR8QTTYq+98dAT_RJ=x9C27=CMXiNRFQ at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Stellenbosch University to answer to Parliament



CAPE TOWN - Stellenbosch University is coming under the microscope, with
management now required to appear before Parliament.

This follows accusations by students of the institution's reluctance to
deal with claims of sexual assault and racism.

A group of students has released a documentary, titled "Luister
<http://www.enca.com/south-africa/luister-documentary-exposes-racism-maties>"which
deals with life on campus. They claim they're being victimised on a regular
basis.

The group -- 'Open Stellenbosch
<http://www.enca.com/opinion/open-stellenbosch-university-education-exclusion>'
-- was formed earlier this year, as calls for transformation at tertiary
institutions around the country intensified.

Among its lists of demands was for the university to change its Afrikaans
language policy
<http://www.enca.com/south-africa/maties-students-threaten-protests>
because it alienated black staff and students.

Open Stellenbosch says it has received a hostile reception at the
university, but has intensified its campaign, unperturbed.

It released "Luister" this past weekend. In the 35-minute
documentary, black students open up about their experiences at the
university.

The film has garnered more than 100,000 views on Youtube.

The university says the documentary is a misrepresentation, but says it
remains committed to addressing issues of transformation.


** Watch the video report by Bibi-Aisha Wadvalla as she captured the action
at a march against sexual abuse on Maties campus.  Also above is a
recording of a live studio interview with Director at Media Justice,
Gillian Schutte about racial discrimination.*


*https://www.enca.com/south-africa/stellenbosch-university-answer-parliament
<https://www.enca.com/south-africa/stellenbosch-university-answer-parliament>*


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Message: 5
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:56:55 -0400
From: Harold Schiffman <hfsclpp at gmail.com>
Subject: [lg policy] Canada: FedEx urged to change invoice language
    policy:
To: lp <lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu>
Message-ID:
    <CAB7VSRBWToKJ6_Wt1emQBc4t3Qdr3DJiQVT-jy2Ci4DXgqB1mg at mail.gmail.com>
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FedEx urged to change invoice language policy August 26th, 2015

This is the latest in a series of articles looking at stores and companies
and their language policies in areas with majority and
significant anglophone populations, as documented by Hampstead’s
Harold Staviss and Côte St. Luc’s Ruth Kovac.

Federal Express founder and CEO Fred Smith has been sent Staviss’s request
urging that the company change its policy of sending Quebec FedEx
non-account holders French-only invoices.
Staviss recently heard from two local anglophone residents who received
French-only invoices from the courier and shipping service. One individual
said he was told that it is “company policy” to send out French-only
invoices to Quebec recipients.
The second individual told Staviss that he requested an invoice in English,
and was instead twice again sent French-only invoices. Staviss sent on
these concerns to the company. A Federal Express customer service
representative replied to Staviss that FedEx account holders can select
their preferred language “and will hence receive their invoice and
correspondences in their language of choice.
“The default language for non-account holders is English in which such
invoices are generated in one language, other than the province of Quebec
where it is in French. Section 57 of the Charter of the French language
provides: Application forms for employment, order forms, invoices, receipts
and quittances shall be drawn up in French.”
The rep added that by offering account holders a choice of preferred
language, “we are complying with our obligations while
giving anglophones in Quebec a reasonable opportunity to obtain their
FedEx documents in English at minimal trouble and no incremental costs.”
Staviss replied that as the company knows, invoices do not only have to be
in French, “and given the sophistication of your computer systems I am
very surprised that FedEx is not able to generate an invoice for
non-account holders, in both official languages of Canada.”
The representative replied that an invoice can be generated in both
languages for non-account holders, if the individual sends the company the
invoice number involved. Staviss suggested sending a bilingual version of
invoices in general until the company’s computer system is adjusted, but
the rep said this would “not be an option at this time.”
Staviss urged the company to consider his suggestions.
“I am quite certain that FedEx’s goal is to show equal respect to all their
customers, whether francophones, anglophones or allophones. Please note
that my comments have nothing to do with language — they have to do solely
with respect. The rep, who copied her response to The Suburban, said that
Staviss’s comments “have been properly routed to the relevant department
and personnel to further use to help improve our services.”
Later, a U.S. FedEx customer service rep told Staviss that a non-FedEx
account holder in Quebec can be sent an English invoice, but only as an
exception. “For any future invoices you want in English, an account will
have to be established with English as the language of choice,” The U.S.
rep added. Staviss replied that he had received several complaints from
people who found the policy to be disrespectful.
Staviss and Kovac’s e-mail address, bonjourhi2u at gmail.com — is “for anyone
who is interested in getting involved to encourage merchants, retailers and
the like to post English signage or more English signage in their
establishments.”n


*FedEx urged to, change invoice, language, policy, *


*http://thesuburban.com/news/articles/?id=article05773
<http://thesuburban.com/news/articles/?id=article05773>*


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Message: 6
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:59:59 -0400
From: Harold Schiffman <hfsclpp at gmail.com>
Subject: [lg policy] Vermont: Burlington?s pick for superintendent of
    schools lands visa
To: lp <lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu>
Message-ID:
    <CAB7VSRCd9_3EisExa3nbVR8fCRFsNjhpdFGiSj6w8zywBdty6Q at mail.gmail.com>
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Burlington’s pick for superintendent of schools lands visa
[image: New Burlington School District superintendent Yaw Obeng. Courtesy
photo]

New Burlington School District superintendent Yaw Obeng. Courtesy photo

The Burlington School District finally has its man.

After weeks of wrangling to secure a visa for its choice as superintendent,
the district last week circumvented obstacles to Yaw Obeng’s hiring by
landing him a job as an adjunct professor at the University of Vermont.

That allowed Obeng, a Canadian citizen, to obtain an H1-B visa, which are
awarded through a lottery system to a limited number of applicants each
year, but that limit does not apply to employees at higher learning
institutions, according to United States Citizenship and Immigration
Services regulations.

The Burlington School District sought employment at UVM for Obeng for the
purpose of avoiding that cap, school board chairman Mark Porter said at a
news conference Wednesday morning.

“We knew the college was not subject to the cap,” and the school board’s
immigration attorney had advised that a job through UVM’s College of
Education and Social Services would offer a relatively straightforward
route to an H1-B visa, Porter said.

USCIS representatives declined to comment on the circumstances through
which Obeng acquired a visa. An official who wished to remain unnamed wrote
in an email that she “can share that USCIS adjudicates all petitions and
applications for immigration benefits individually based on the evidence
provided and immigration law.”

The congressionally mandated cap of 65,000 H1-B visas per fiscal year was
met for fiscal year 2016 by April 7, 2015. More than 230,000 people
petitioned for the visas, according to USCIS documents.

Though UVM’s College of Education and Social Services hired Obeng after
being approached by the Burlington School District, the college’s interim
dean said her school would “absolutely” have hired Obeng without that
request.

“This was great serendipity for us,” said Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin, interim
dean of UVM’s College of Education and Social Services. “Mr. Obeng’s
knowledge about the needs of English language learners, and how to create a
positive learning culture for students that supports diversity, will be an
asset to our teacher education program as well as [to] Burlington and the
state.”

Obeng will teach a course at UVM entitled Language Policy Issues and Race
in Learning, Gerstl-Pepin said. The class is new to UVM, and was to be
taught by a former faculty member who departed suddenly in July for
personal reasons, Gerstl-Pepin said. The course will be offered in the fall
and spring semesters, Gerstl-Pepin said.

Obeng will work at UVM as a part-time, or adjunct, faculty member, she said.

The University of Vermont has no policy expressing preference for
Vermonters or for United States citizens, Gerstl-Pepin said.

“When we hire faculty members or staff members, we want the best person for
the job, and that’s the bottom line,” she said. “We don’t look at those
other factors.”

Porter said the Burlington School District likewise sought only the best
person for the job, regardless of nationality.

School district administrators knew at the outset of the selection process
that Obeng’s citizenship status represented a hurdle to his hiring, but
they were determined to obtain legal employment status for him once he was
chosen, Porter said after the press conference.

“We knew he was not a U.S. citizen, and that he would need to be able to
work legally in the U.S., and that’s why we hired an immigration lawyer,”
Porter said. “We were never given guarantees by our immigration attorney …
[but] they said they’d exhaust all options, and we were like, ‘That’s
great, because so will we.’”

The district spent approximately $16,000 beyond what was originally
allocated for the superintendent search to hire Obeng, Porter said. The
school district had originally set aside $40,000 for the search, he said.

The district will likely spend additional money to secure a different type
of visa that offers Obeng an easier path to citizenship, Porter said.

Obeng, who was superintendent of a school system in Ontario, stood out
among candidates for his past success in working with schools that had wide
income disparities, Porter said.

These are challenges Obeng will need to meet in his new role at Burlington
School District, Porter said.

Obeng’s salary is $153,000.

http://vtdigger.org/2015/08/26/burlingtons-pick-for-superintendent-of-schools-lands-visa/


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