Do most second or third generation Indian American children attend special schools for one of their parents’ mother language?
Reflecting on Indian and Indian American attitude toward English and their regional language
A couple of weeks ago, a major (though seemingly contrived) controversy broke out in India over the increased use of the Hindi language on social media. Language is a contentious issue in India, and has been since Article 343 of the Indian Constitution declared “Hindi in the Devanagari script” the official language of India in 1949. English, which was official during the British Raj, has remained co-official with Hindi, despite efforts to phase it out.
English remains entrenched in India and is widely used by India’s elite, bureaucracy, and companies. It is particularly important in its written form, as the official versions of most documents use English. Most pan-Indian written communication as well as many major media outlets use English. However, at the spoken level, English is much less prevalent and Indian languages are more widely used, with Hindi serving as a lingua franca for most of the country except the its northeast and the deep south. It should be noted that English is spoken or understood by about 150 million Indians, or about 10 percent of the population. This means that around 90 percent of Indians do not understand or speak English.
English’s association with the elite and corridors of power and its status as the language of documents and serious literature has led to a craze for English-medium schools across India. Proponents of the English language in India argue that English will serve as the vehicle of India’s economic growth and lead to the empowerment of hundreds of millions of individuals. Nothing, however, could be more incorrect. India’s obsession with English holds back both its economic development and the quality of its education.
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Here is a Quora entry I found:
Let’s face it. The bitter truth (sweet for some) is that English has conquered all the other languages of the world.
Even those countries that were traditionally hostile to English and shielded their people from gaining knowledge of English have started opening out to English and accepting it as a language that one must learn and know to survive and make progress in the world.
Traditional rivals of the English, like the French and the Germans are learning English, while most Englishmen and Americans are not learning German or French. The former realise it is necessary. The latter don’t feel knowing French or German is necessary. The same is true in China. More Chinese people are learning English than English speaking people are learning Chinese.
It is not just Hindi speakers in India who prefer an English Medium education in India.
This is the situation in every state in India. Those who study in regional language schools do so because they could not get admission in English medium schools or could not afford it. Given a choice every parent will like to admit his child into an English medium school.
State Government politicians pay lip service to the regional language and pretend to be in favour of the local languages as medium of instruction at the primary school level but their own children go to English medium schools.They know the standard of education in regional language schools is not up to the mark.
English medium education gives you a status in society that you don’t get when you study in regional languages. The regional language is studied in addition to English not instead of English.
The standard of Education in English medium schools in India is vastly superior to the quality of education in the majority of schools that teach in the local languages.
English medium education facilitates entry into the elite sections of society. You are taken more seriously, when you are dressed in a pant and shirt and speak English rather than in a Dhoti and speak the local language. Those who speak English well do better in job interviews.They find it easier to do well abroad.
Nearly all the people who matter in India speak, read and write English as their first language.
The middle classes know this. Some grudgingly admit it. Others unconvincingly deny it.
Only in politics, arts, religion & culture and during elections are the local languages more important because you need to have mass contact, which is not possible if you speak to the masses in English.