The Englishy Attitude

09 Oct

“Urdu is discouraged here, especially during school hours”, the principal frankly communicated when my brother went to a renowned school of the city to get his son admitted there. Keeping in view the requisites of modern era, no doubt, apparently it was not so irritating rather a welcoming statement for my brother who, just like other parents, wants his son to be well educated and very good at English language. Forsooth English language is going to be a part and parcel to survive in this modern era. But “English-is-everything” kind of attitude adopted by modern English medium schools is costing our moral values and culture gravely in various ways.

Besides elite class, nowadays, there is a handsome number of middle and upper middle class families who opt for English medium schools for their offspring. But as a number of such parents in our society (specially that of middle and upper middle class) are not good enough to communicate with their children smoothly in English; it gives vent to a communication gap between child and his parents.

At first, when parents are not able to apprehend English medium syllabus of their child, they are psychologically pressurized. They have no other option except hiring a tutor who could guide their child in his high class English medium course. This particular factor starts developing a “disgracing attitude” in child’s mind towards his parents which keeps strengthening with the passage of time. And when he is bit grown up, there comes a stage when the child of such a family actually develops a perspective that his parents are “uneducated”. They cannot understand English so it is all in vain to discuss with his parents/family what is going on in the school.

At this stage these psychologically pressurized upper middle class parents are also reluctant to discuss school matters with their child or if somehow they manage to do, it is not more than a formal talk. Resultantly, the communication gap gets broader and broader. Another threat that keeps strengthening its root is that such child might become bossy, disobedient and eventually out of control of his parents. In addition to this, owing to communication gap he would not be aware of moral values that ought to be taught at home by parents or elders of family. It is solely because the communication gap that has been developed in these years.

To support this viewpoint I would like to quote the example of a student of mine who is going to step in O-level studies. He belongs to an upper middle class family and studies in a renowned school of the country. He hardly discusses any aspect of his studies with his parents just because of aforementioned facts. At times when his mother inquires about his studies he instantly responds, “apko English parhnee ati hai jo apko school  notices dikhaoon?” (Why to share School Notices with you, can you comprehend English?). And this is one example only. A number of other instances can be cited this particular issue.

Unquestionably, English is an essential part of today’s modern era. However, our English medium schools should not develop a kind of attitude that instills in children’s mind that English is above all. It ought to be part of their syllabus to the extent that it aptly fulfills the modern requisites but not the sole criterion to label a person educated or uneducated.

(The article was originally published in Element Prime)
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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Viewpoint


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