I am Macaulay’s child

Published Jul 16, 2013 02:35pm

Sometime in 1834, a plump man ventured from the comfort of his “civilized” British homeland to the “barbaric” India. Thomas Babington Macaulay’s world view very well reflected the ills of the 19th century. A racist colonist in full measure, the naivety of his knowledge in history prompted him to radically reform the education system in India.

Macaulay believed that to civilize the Indian barbarians, they should be tutored in Shakespeare’s classics and the Glorious Revolution, that the expansion of European civilization was key to the progress of humanity. He seemingly ignored the wonderful history of India’s own civilization, of Asoka the Great’s militaristic feats and his philosophical notions of peace that followed. Romeo and Juliet was a Shakespearian masterpiece, but Macaulay was blind to the legend of Rama and Sita.

The colonists did not realise that Pashto, Saraiki, Sindhi, Bengali, etc. are all beautiful languages in their own right, that the Indus and Ganges rivers flow for more miles than any of their European counterparts, and that, discounting Russia, India was larger even in size to the militaristic Europe.

Macaulay’s education reforms are relevant even today: he succeeded in creating a colonial elite. English medium schools did not seep into India’s core, rather, in modern day Pakistan, they lie on the fringes, available only to the social class that took over from the British, as most people still live in the harsh reality of blinding poverty.

With the elite now primarily English speaking, Pakistan’s other languages have been degraded to cow fodder. Yet English isn’t the only nuisance in this confusing linguistic puzzle. Urdu, controversially set as Pakistan’s national language and a key element of Bangladesh’s secession in 1971, is a first choice for a mere 7 per cent of Pakistan’s population.

Textbooks in Kenya

In the early 1990s, Harvard professor Michael Kramer was looking for a simple test to evaluate policy intervention in a developing country. He looked at schools in western Kenya that had a shortage of textbooks. It’s a near-universal consensus that textbooks are essential inputs in the education process.

Twenty-five schools were chosen at random, and they received the officially approved textbooks for those specific classes. Remarkably, the study found that there was no difference in the average test scores of the students that received textbooks and those that did not. However, interestingly, those who had scores near the top when the study began, made marked improvements in the schools where the textbooks were given out.

Here’s how it all comes together: Kenya’s language of education is English, and the textbooks were in English too. But most children speak English as a third language, after Swahili and the local tribe language. The same study has been repeated with other core inputs like improved teacher ratios and increased technology in education, but they’ve all yielded similar results.

The study above shows that improving the inputs to classrooms is essential for bettering performance. However, as language is the gateway to learning, these inputs have to work around a linguistic framework suited to the student. Be it Kenya or Pakistan, only a small minority (that are proficient in English or Urdu) will excel in this colonial education system.

British Council Report, 2010

In a 2010 report, the British Council, after a severe analysis of Pakistan’s education system, proposed some far-reaching changes. Their core argument was for Pakistan to embrace her multilingual identity, and reflect it in classrooms. Children, at least at a primary age, should be schooled in the language they are most familiar with.

Pakistan has more than 70 languages, yet Urdu, the medium of instruction, is spoken by a small migrant minority. The language was attached to the concept of Pakistan in the 1930s and 1940s as individuals tried to create a culture around their nationalism. But, with the prominence of regional languages, Urdu has always remained a minority and a second language for most, and the unifying culture never fermented. It’s time to drop homogenous notions and build a culture around diversity in light of Pakistan’s multilingual landscape.

Children learning in Urdu as second language face many obstacles in their early years. Their progress in reading and writing will naturally be hindered, as would the support they get from their parents.

The British Council’s report proposed a schooling system based around seven major regional languages, including Urdu. This, they claimed, would help provide a first-language education to 85 per cent of the population.

Currently, in order to gain access to the civil service and higher education in Pakistan you need to have a qualification in English. British academic, Hywell Coleman, suggests that “people should have to demonstrate competence not only in English but also in Urdu and one of the other main regional languages. If that were to happen you would find that the elite private schools would start teaching other regional languages. Something like that would put the three languages on a more equal footing."

In the same breadth, public schools, charter schools, and schools in remote villages, should introduce English at a later stage, after a child’s primary schooling. This would help break the linguistic barrier to wealth in Pakistan.

As children are taught basic skills in their primary language, and individuals from all social classes begin to embrace Pakistan’s myriad of languages, Pakistan’s school dropout rate is bound to go down as the literacy rate increases. And, importantly, women’s involvement both in the education sector and civil service will increase, as Pakistan’s finally rids itself of Macaulay’s chains on a path to progress.

All this is not meant to undermine the necessity of inputs such as teachers and textbooks, but since language is the basis of communicating with knowledge, the system has to be reformed before the inputs can do their job.

I realise that my ability to criticise the current situation comes from the fact that this colonial residue was in place when I was born. I studied in English at a school still “run by the Church of England” and I wrote this for an English newspaper originally created with separatist-nationalist intentions in a colonial society. I am not just a product of the system I so vehemently criticise, I am the system. I am Macaulay’s child.

Reference: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (2011) by Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee


The writer is a History and Economics student at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and co-founder of youth media platform Graphite Publications. He can be reached at sameer.itf@gmail.com


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (61) (Closed)


azad
Jul 16, 2013 03:15pm

english is the way to go..

khayam husain
Jul 16, 2013 03:20pm

Thought provoking article. Hard to imagine that only 7% of the population cite Urdu as their "first choice" language. There is no doubting the fact that your proposal will lead to improved integration between schools. However, the real danger is whether the public schools will be able to embrace english ever so easily. Where will the teachers come from? English is the only "universal/global" language. Pakistani's - albeit a minority - are at an advantage over many other countries - in business, communications and call centers. We may end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater!

adnan
Jul 16, 2013 04:03pm

Too simplistic conclusion; ironically a British system is suggested to be changed by another British proposal. No concrete references. The historic references are now obsolete. One has to think in terms of the present new linguistic world order for which extensive and intensive indigenous research with sincerity is required .

amer
Jul 16, 2013 06:15pm

Just a repeat of an anti-Imperialist view on Macaulay. The writer hasn't understood macaulay's design. Macaulay wanted the spread of scientific knowledge which was in English at the time, The local languages may have been 'beautiful' but the knowledge e.g. of astronomy they contained was laughably childish. Also Macaulay wanted those who learnt English to transfer and transmit the knowledge to others and to enrich the local languages. This is what we did not do. So the fault is with us not with Macaulay. A poor piece by any standard, don't know how it found place here.

Mohabbat
Jul 16, 2013 06:38pm

This article is wrong. Macaulay did not say the Indians are barbarians. He in his report has said the Indians have an advanced system of education, implying the ancient tol and gurukula methods of teaching(also tried by Rabindranath Tagore in his iconic university Vishwa Bharati). Macaulay then goes on to say that in order to rule over Indians, their entire system of education must be replaced with English so as to completely destroy their self esteem and pride. Please do not misconstrue historical events and policies.

Sayyar Khan
Jul 16, 2013 07:59pm

Urdu should not be the national language. Other mother tongues should be given priority.

AikPakistani
Jul 16, 2013 08:15pm

yet another fault line proposed for the fabric of Pakistani society. A bit of nationalism woven around a national language is not a bad thing, I guess. The very writer and most of the readers of this article come from the so called "elite" or more appropriately "fortunate" background which has been battered in this article.

Salah Uddin
Jul 16, 2013 08:53pm

Dawn.com, many people inside Pakistan and abroad read the daily dawn, but it seems now the quality of the newspaper is going down and down day by day. I could not resist to wait for a single minute to read ''I am Macaulay's child'', but I am greatly disappointed to read it. Is there any message the writer wants to get across to the readers? I think whoever went to school in Pakistan (public or private) knows about Lord Macaulay and his colonialist approach to civilize the Indians through English. Please please stop reproducing these stories which lack substance, morals and lessons. Is there any alernative that the writer propose? Definitely not!

RK
Jul 16, 2013 09:21pm

If Urdu is first language of only 7%, then it means its a foreign language for rest 93%.......so how is it different from English for those 93%?

Jamil
Jul 16, 2013 11:22pm

Children will be better educated if taught in their own language in initial years. This is especially applicable in rural areas.

Javed
Jul 16, 2013 11:37pm

The writer does not seem to understand the language issue fully.

English is a definate advantage for Pakistan. It has given the country an incredible advantage in the world arena. Many Pakistani's, especially those in elite school speak and write English with much better grammar than their counterparts in Europe and other countries of the world.

Indigenous/local languages should be promoted up to middle school as agreeably it would increase and widen the enrollment and more importantly is a linguistic right of Pakistan's many ancient and traditional languages (Pashto, Panjabi, Seraiki, Shinha, Sindhi, Khowar, Hindko etc.)

The real problem lays with Urdu. While English gives Pakistani student a global advantage, the lack of instruction/teaching in our local languages has weakened the attachment to the land and the natural ability to learn something quicker in one's own language. While Urdu has been chosen as a token of national unity(that which it thoroughly has failed at), it has only given Pakistani's the ability to communicate with Hindi speaker in india a country. So in other words, not really an advantage. Furthermore, had Sindhi been introduced as an elementary language in Sindh for example, there would be greater integration and less civil strife there.

The country should have introductory classes in one's native/provincial language with the transition over to English. A few classes of Urdu, chinese, Persian and Arabic along the way wouldnt hurt but the focus should be on English and provincial languages which are our true assets.

Javed
Jul 16, 2013 11:39pm

@Sayyar Khan:

Agreed. It has not done its job. Provincial languages connect people to their history and the land of Pakistan (i.e. increase natural affinity to the country), English gives Pakistani's an international advantage over other countries and access to immense knowledge. Urdu has failed as a national language (i.e. Bangladesh) and only allows Pakistani's to speak to indians which seems to serve no purpose.

suresh kumar
Jul 17, 2013 12:08am

It was a thought provoking article showing where the fault lines are in the school education in Pakistan. Same could easily be said about India. Socio-political history of both the countries amply demonstrates the power being grabbed by the Elites and handed down quite smoothly to their siblings using the educational system which has remained UNCHANGED for a vey very long time with some artificial changes here and there to give the impression to the powerless masses of opening the door for higher education for the children of havenots.

Humaira
Jul 17, 2013 12:28am

Very thoughtful article. Urdu has no connections with Pakistan being a dialect of Hindi-Urdu or Hindustani, deriving from the Khadiboli dialect of Uttar pradesh. In any case, the imposition of Urdu in Pakistan, Bengalis will have none of it having too much pride in their language, shows clearly that anyone can become McCaulay. Chauvinism, racism, and imperialism is not the exclusive birthright of the white folks only. Browns can do it to themselves plenty well!!

Bharat
Jul 17, 2013 01:48am

@AikPakistani: FAult line by getting away from URDU ?

And it was the imposition of URDU that caused the break up of Pakistan between the east and the west.

Ajaya K Dutt
Jul 17, 2013 02:10am

So a British council studied how Pakistan should improve their education system. I thought Pakistan attained freedom (?) more than half a century ago.

Or is it a matter of getting something done (critical thinking and analysis), which cannot be done at home.

Now, come on. You cannot be that coward not to publish this. It is only for your own good.

Sal
Jul 17, 2013 03:07am

Absurd. English should be the national language and all the schools should be English medium. That is only way to compete in the global marketplace and end the social divid within the society.

adnan
Jul 17, 2013 05:29am

@RK: Urdu is different in: 1. It is lingua franca which 90% Pakistani understand at least 2. The exposure to Urdu is several times more than English for an average 3. The amount of publications in Urdu make it indispensable for any educated Pakistani

Naveed
Jul 17, 2013 07:40am

Give a country 20 languages, and in only 20 years, you will see country is divided into 20 language fault lines. Look what happened to Canada. It is divided into French and English languages speaking population. It even tried to go for independence through referendum which was lost narrowly. Same case is with India and Pakistan. We still get and give vote on basis of language. We should promote English as an education language and Urdu as national.

In US, where 10% population is Hispanic, they tried to teach early education in Hispanic. But after conducting a study by the US Department of Education, they found out that gain is very little and they doped the idea and now English is the only medium of education.

It is not that English that is the culprit it is 'the way of teaching English' is a problem. We never taught English as a Language art, instead it is always treated as another subject to teach. If we use proper method of teaching English such as using daily stories reading and writing method and story listening and writing method, our children of all ages will develop connection with the English language. We should never teach English grammar until grade 6. Child should learn English grammar rules subconsciously via reading stories.

Starting from grade 1, reading proficiency is very important. In recent 15 years study conducted by the US Department of Education revealed that if child has low reading proficiency level at grade 2nd, he or she usually has the same problem in later grades as well. So it is imperative to have grade level proficiency level starting from grade 1 using daily story reading method which is natural to a child.

Ahmed
Jul 17, 2013 08:31am

In his speech made in 1835, MacCauley explains the reasons why he believed that the only practical way Indian students who would catch up with the west that had even by then moved way ahead of the rest of the world in scientific knowledge and in political development would be by learning english. This is a link to it: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00generallinks/macaulay/txtminuteeducation_1835.html The clarity of thought reflected in his speech shines through the centuries and its veracity is no longer in doubt as english has become the de facto language of science, business, and even social communicaiton all over the world, not just in India. These actual outcomes speak louder than all the faux-nationalistic rhetoric of those like the author of this article who try to paint MacCauley as a mere imperialist.

Ahmed
Jul 17, 2013 08:33am

@Jamil: Not true. Modern neurology and psychology has made it amply clear that the best time to learn a new language is when you are young.

Janikhel
Jul 17, 2013 08:49am

@amer: Regional languages have NO place in todays global village, Pakistan and India had a unique advantage of english langauge, but we have lost this advantage, due to narrow minded outlook of our lowly leaders. Chinese parents are spending billions of dollars trying to teach their kids english, yet the poor kids cannot comprehend the message.

maimoona khan
Jul 17, 2013 09:35am

I agree with the author's point of view and we should promote our regional languages instead of wasting are time in the battle of languages.Although language is the tool of communication , how can a child understand and communicate if he/she does not familiar with the medium of language . World wide people run a campaign to save their mother language and here we are wasting are time, whether we taught our curriculum in Urdu or English .

Sayed Qazi,M.D.
Jul 17, 2013 11:15am

Heartening to note that Macaulay is finally making it into mainstream discussion.The havoc he has wrought is for all to see.His aspiration was not a benign one as suggested by someone here.Please refer to his "Minute on Indian Education" and recognize the contempt he had for things and traditions indigenous.To paraphrase him:Is there anyone who would not claim a single shelf of good European books is not better than the whole of Arabian and Indian literature ------.The purpose of such an education would be to produce individuals who may look indian and have indian blood but in their outlook,manners and thought would be Englishmen.Such individuals would be very easily removed from their religion. That Macaulay would be so well borne out by us provokes me to ask if it is us who were so well read by him or was it he who had such an impressive foresight?

Farooq Ali
Jul 17, 2013 12:09pm

I am unable to understand that why we involve ourselves as a nation in politics pf language and try to create a conflict of Urdu vs English and national vs regional etc, Languages are now linguistic sciences and a way to develop intellect , great Muslim and other scholars had mastery over a dozen languages and hated none of these . Most of the English Students take French as a second language and develop mastery over it but not at the cost of hating English . The languages are like brothers if you will try to create a conflict between them they will not enter in your brain and will confine one to speak street language minus literature and creative work.

Bkt
Jul 17, 2013 01:43pm

Urdu is not only the choice of 7% of the population as the seems to think. This I believe is due to him being a child of Macauley that he does not understand the importance of Urdu to Pakistani people.The mass of religious literature and knowledge has been translated from Arabic and also the mass of the treatises and thoughts of religious scholars of Islam is in Urdu. That is what gives Urdu its importance.

It is because Urdu is a much easier language to learn than Arabic, that makes it a language of choice for the mass of Pakistanis. If it wasn't for the religious literature in this language it would have no real importance in the country.

Aiman Kay
Jul 17, 2013 01:55pm

In this day and age we cannot survive without English. We don't have enough resources to translate all the scientific books, latest research articles etc. into Urdu so until that time comes we should promote English so that we are competitive in the world.

Management
Jul 17, 2013 01:59pm

My family migrated from India and we are Urdu speaking people.

In my opinion Urdu should not be the national language of Pakistan. It is the language of the people ( Muslim) of Northern India, and has nothing to do with this part of the sub-continent. It will be service to Pakistan, if Urdu is removed from every sphere of life, and be replaced by any other local or foreign language

Dr Metlo
Jul 17, 2013 02:12pm

A nice write up. Though originally the concept of Macaulay's children refers to his suggestions after many years stay and research in India, to create a loyal class in India through whom the colonial power has to communicate with huge Indian population to better serve the interests of their Imperial rule. As the size- population as well as geographic, of the Imperial power was tiny as compared to colonized population and their geographic sizes and locations. These mercenary groups created after the suggestions of Macaulay are known as ''The Children of Macaulay'' in history. They were meant to speak in English with their masters and native languages with the colonized masses. Unfortunately these loyal and ruthless mercenary groups still exist with further developed and refined forms. They continue to serve similar purpose but now under the command and control of the so called International establishment.

Dr Metlo
Jul 17, 2013 02:47pm

Macaulay's most widely quoted proposition: ‘We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.’

Dr Metlo
Jul 17, 2013 02:49pm

@amer: Macaulay's most widely quoted proposition: ‘We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.’ T

Muhammad Ilyas Khan
Jul 17, 2013 03:45pm

So what is your point? Bringing everything down to language and heaping it all on Macaulay makes no sense at all. Pakistan's education is suffering not because of this or that language. It is instead the lack of political will and lack of resources in all sorts of educational institutions here, the overcrowded class, untrained and unmotivated teachers and corruption of all sorts that are plaguing the system. Language is the last issue here! And practically in most schools it is the mother tongue which is in use rather than English or Urdu. Realities on the ground are far more complex that what the writer would want us to believe.

Muhammad Ilyas Khan
Jul 17, 2013 03:57pm

@maimoona khan: So when are you going to stop reading this English newspaper and instead focus on Pashtu, Punjabi, Sindhi and Urdu ones?

Muhammad Ilyas Khan
Jul 17, 2013 04:01pm

@Ahmed:

You said it with all honesty and intelligence Ahmed! Bravo.

Camal
Jul 17, 2013 04:02pm

@Farooq Ali: Agreed. And the same should apply to religion also. If we can learn several languages, why not learn several religions? The most intelligent scholar turns into a crazy fanatic when asked to read other religions.

courteous_heart00@yahoo.com
Jul 17, 2013 04:07pm

Urdu and English both are elevated languages but we get proud when we speak Englisgh because English is an international language, which is spoken all over the world thats why we campare Urdu vs English....

AdnanAnwar
Jul 17, 2013 05:23pm

Urdu and English should be taught together at younger age because all scientific literature and research is in English. We should require Urdu in all institution but English should also be must. Having seen folks who started learning English in grade 5, the hurdles they had to cross in later years of their academic life were gigantic. Those who advocate that 2nd language should be taught later should refrain from being in academia.

Akhter Husain
Jul 17, 2013 05:24pm

@Sal: I think we can live and enjoy life even without knowing or competing English language.or competing other nations.Why should not one learns to live within one self?

adnan
Jul 17, 2013 06:39pm

@Javed: Sindhi is the medium of education in Sind from primary to phd. When was it not?

Sheharyar
Jul 17, 2013 07:00pm

@AdnanAnwar: Why is important to teach English to everyone? I do admit that having a population that speaks English is a very big asset in the globalized world, but the issue here is education and improving people's lives, not teaching a language they can't (thanks to visa restrictions) and won't use. Name me one developed/developing country in Europe, Asia or South America that teaches it's entire population English...

Akhlaq Ahmad
Jul 18, 2013 12:50am

The use of "in their own right" in the statement - "The colonists did not realise that Pashto, Saraiki, Sindhi, Bengali, etc. are all beautiful languages in their own right," - is incorrect. All these languages ARE beautiful and not just in their own right. Otherwise, the author has drwan attention to a very important issue.

Mansoor
Jul 18, 2013 01:03am

@Muhammad Ilyas Khan:

You could not come up with a better idea than this pathetic personal attack on maimoona khan.

Rana
Jul 18, 2013 01:51am

@Naveed: Not a valid comparision at all. Not only the spanish parents children in the USA live in a society, and class room, where the other 90% (as your given number) populace are english speaking but also there is a lot of spanish promotions in society at every level. And spanish is avaialbe as a subject in almsot all schools.

Rana
Jul 18, 2013 01:55am

@Ahmed: so you beleive that a coloniest was working for the benefit of the colony?

Rana
Jul 18, 2013 01:57am

@Ahmed: learning a new language and getting educated in a foreign language are not the same.

Rana
Jul 18, 2013 01:59am

@Janikhel: and those kids are still beating the crap out of english world.

Rana
Jul 18, 2013 02:05am

@Management: "or foreign language"? then what is the purpose?

Sayed Qazi,M.D.
Jul 18, 2013 02:41am

I am glad Macaulay is being discussed especially the legacy bequeathed by him.Some comments posted here reflect the ignorance of the author vis a vis Macaulay.I'd like to refer him to Macaulay's claim to fame i.e. his education policy and its aims for India and Indians and an insight into his utter contempt for all things indigenous irrespective of their religious affiliation.In his "Minute on Indian Education" he states that no one would claim that a shelf of good European books was not worth the entire Arabian and Indian literature.In the same book he also stated that the purpose of such an education was to breed individuals who while may look indian and have indian blood but would think and act and have an outlook of an Englishman,and the advantage of having such an individual would be that he/she would be very easily removed from his/her religion. I am left wondering whether Macaulay knew us better than we know ourselves or is it that we are simply bearing out his hoped for objectives.

Rana Usman
Jul 18, 2013 04:48am

You actually failed to give insight to many other things that the policy advised by Macauly has caused.

For Instance, Pakistan and India are among those nations where people think of English Speaker as a mark of aristocracy. Since its fed upon their mind that Whites are the rulers and their language is english, and without english, you may not succeed anywhere, so they loose their confidence and nationalism for their own language i.e Urdu or Hindi to the foreign Language English

Meanwhile

In France, Germany, Japan, they would rather feel shameful speaking english.

Hafiz Nazar Hussain
Jul 18, 2013 05:35am

@azad: Hafiz Nazar Hussain, Advocate High Court: This is a good article with commendable thoughts expressed in a beautiful way of writing. However, In view of my personal experience as a student, father and teacher , I sincerely feel that not only English, but also Urdu and Arabic should be taught from the beginning, but the syllabus should be lighter according to the capacity of the child to pick up and understand. Urdu is our National Language, Arabic language of Quranic and English is a must to prepare our children to compete not only domestically, but on global basis as well. The author himself is a student for earning higher degree at a very important university of international standard and must be witnessing the standard of English Language he is facing. In my opinion, the real challenge is not of the student to pick up and understand, but to provide him / her a good teacher to part with a quality knowledge, through a syllabus of appropriate standard prepared in view of the overall burden on the student. I hope the matter stands clarified for the readers to understand the importance of all the three languages, for their children to learn from the beginning, in order to ensure a better future for them.

Raj
Jul 18, 2013 07:38am

I see many comments from 'Macaulay's children' in this forum. The upper classes in the sub-continent would have us believe that English being a global language should be the means of instruction in school.

I would ask how Japan, China , & South Korea have risen from poverty to challenge and compete with the West, how Germany, France and the Nordic countries lead Europe and the HDI count despite the alleged dis-advantage of not being English speaking countries?

And why is it that Indian, Pakistan and Philippines continue to languish in poverty, inequality and underdevelopment after 50 years of independence despite clinging faithfully to the language of their former colonial masters?

A culture of borrowed English has restricted development in the sub-continent to a privileged elite with disastrous social and political consequences.

Let's learn from the Chinese who made the study of Simplified Mandarin compulsory across China to educate all and give the everyone the opportunity to contribute to national development. Let's appreciate how the nascent state of Israel , made Hebrew compulsory in order to foster national unity and understanding and then made huge strides in science and technology.

Cornelius Vanderbilt
Jul 18, 2013 09:45am

It is no use crying over spilt milk. He did what he thought was good. Victor dictates vanquish obeys. It has been, it is and it shall remain. Forget about him and his work. Find your own and get on with life. Go forth.

Raheem
Jul 18, 2013 10:41am

@Naveed: The BEST comments here. This is how we should think. The writter of this article seems to me a very narrow minded person still living in an era with no lights. Or probably he is too disturbed by load shedding.

Poo
Jul 18, 2013 10:42am

Urdu is an interesting language from the point of linguistics. It is an Indo Aryan language (sanskrit based) whose vocabulary (nearly 50%) is Indo Iranian (Farsi based). As long as Pakistan exists, Urdu will survive. As long Urdu exists, Sanskrit will survive and as long as Sanskirt survives Hindu thought, philosophy and epistemology will automatically continue as it is in structure of Sanskrit itself. Conclusion: By design Pakistan can never free itself from its Hindu roots as much as its muslim moorings.

Raheem
Jul 18, 2013 10:54am

The writer has come up with a story with no or minimal research. He has attempted to create another confusion in the society. I am sure he himself is not sure what he is trying to project. Or he is satisfied with his attempt to let down English and Urdu languages. There is no doubt that a parallel effort should be there to teach mother languages in schools. However, not at the cost of one international and one national language. Besides, have we ever thought how electronic media (which is a dominant media) in our country is all Urdu. Regional languages are great but in 21st century they will remain on sidelines. It's a reality. Our focus should be to give quality education in English and Urdu. We should improve the quality of teachers.

Ahmed
Jul 18, 2013 11:39am

How about Mandarin ? Would it be useful to make an elementary Mandarin a compulsory language at Secondary level? It would be useful tool to introduce concept of Family Planning by citing Chinese One-Child policy? The gains in Pakistan Economy are always severely watered down by the population explosion. Teaching elementary Mandarin Course may be a good way to get the poorest people to adopt Family Planning.

Farooq Ali
Jul 18, 2013 11:47am

@Camal: yes their should be no restriction in acquiring good knowledge

Ahmed
Jul 18, 2013 01:58pm

Its an Irony that on one hand writer minds if Macaulay ignores "Asoka the Great’s militaristic feats and his philosophical notions of peace" yet the writer himself has missed out upon a 1000 year history of muslim rule that encompasses quantum of science, art and culture.

And that all primarily you find documented in Urdu language. Yet someone wants to get rid of a language that binds us together and with our history.

In the name of linguistic diversity.....haah. Have you ever thought of a government running on a diverse set of languages?

I would also like to know from where this 7% preference for Urdu came from. Any authentic survey? please let us know.

Ali
Jul 18, 2013 02:10pm

Language is not the primary problem for the plight of education in Pakistan. Those children who study in English medium schools do not speak English as first language but they learn to use them equally fine. The real problem is unavailability of schools, standard of schools and teachers, method of examination and outdated curriculum. The schooling system must be improved to create inquiry based learning creating free thinkers. Good schools and trained teachers only can build a better generation. English has established itself as a universal language so we have to learn it in this age of globalization and we would be foolish to deny its place. We should look towards India and Sri Lanka for improvements in our education system.

waheed
Jul 18, 2013 02:13pm

dear readers

I just want to ask you few questions , from jinah got educated , sir syed , banazir , her childerns , Nawaz shrif,all ellite class and their childerns were educated in either in foreign or in top notch school in Pakistan , so please let masses be educated in English not in any other medium, that will be a great achievement for Pakistani nation thanks

dL70
Jul 18, 2013 02:59pm

Macaulay has much to answer for - educational "reform" being one of the most of the "muches". Thought-provoking article but are the powers that be listening? Will the elites embrace a change in status quo that in the long-run poses a threat to their treasured elitism? We - as Pakistanis - are arguably more racist in our entrenched opinions and attitudes to our own people than even he might have countenanced.