Friday, August 18, 2006

Do students from vernacular mediums fare better?

The following is a speech I wrote for an Inter School Debate Competition, however I was unable to participate because in a school of some 720 students in the high school, I was the only one who wrote anything at all. No partner, no debate :(

P.S: I'll post the elements later... promise :)

To quote K Darling, "Education is about transcending linguistic barriers and not being intimidated by them."

This topic, in my opinion, would encompass another important issue, which we cannot ignore, and that is, “What exactly is education”? “What does education strife for?”

To answer, “what does education strife for”, - Education works to enhance the survivability factor in a world where only the fittest survive. Education is an important factor for success. “Education” comes first. The “kind of”, and the medium of instruction next. To elucidate, education of any kind, formal – in schools and institutions of higher learning; informal – in the playground, with your neighbor’s granddad, gardening with your mother, at a social event and even in a debate like this, to speak of a few, has precedence over the medium of instruction. Moving further, the importance of the medium of instruction somewhere gets diluted and slowly fades away. Successful people do not succeed because they have been educated in a particular language, but because they have the aptitude, the attitude and an inclination for knowledge; it is because they are pioneers, industrious and creative. A language does not affect or effect one’s creativity or other talents. The cognition of a language, or the lack of it does not take away skills from one.

At the risk of contradicting what I have spoken in the last 2 minutes, students educated in English do have advantages over students who have been educated in a vernacular language. To clarify this contradiction, though the technical and text book knowledge of students in both schools is the same, it would be hypocritical not to admit that knowing English, which is so to say, a global language, gives them a first hand access to global literature and research - a majority of which happens to be in English; and this is not the platform to debate “why” global literature is in English. It might be of interest to add, that knowledge of “German” is encouraged in engineering schools solely because there is a lot of engineering related technical literature in German. And the Japanese are catching up really fast! Coming back to the point, and keeping German and Japanese aside for this debate, comfort with English – an advantage that students educated in English medium schools have – gives them this edge over other students… only till an enterprising student from a vernacular school catches up with them.

And as a natural conclusion, I come to the point that has real importance, and that is development of young minds. Success depends on development of the mind. “The Mind”, is of importance here. And the language of instruction cannot, I repeat, cannot undermine this importance.