THIS is with reference to the article ‘Which language?’ by Zubeida Mustafa (Sept 25). I beg to differ with the writer as her suggestion of teaching the primary schoolchildren in their mother tongue is neither feasible nor helpful to children in their learning process.

If a survey is carried out in any school of Karachi, there will be children having at least five or six different mother tongues in a class, such as Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto, Memoni or Gujarati. How will it be possible for a teacher to teach in all these languages simultaneously and from where will you get such a multilingual teacher?

It will create a complete mess in the class and will add to ‘language apartheid’. As teaching in one’s mother tongue is a far-fetched idea, the other two options we are left with are teaching in Urdu or English.

Indeed, teaching in mother tongue is like feeding mother’s milk, but if mother’s milk is not an available option, why not feed the best formula milk, which is English.

I have seen African countries which faced similar problem of being multilingual, but they found a solution by adopting English as their official language. As far as ‘thinking and communicating’ in a language is concerned, if children are taught in English from day one, they will be more fluent and communicative in English than in their mother tongue.

I have experience of teaching Nigerians at the Air War College and their standard of writing English was most impressive. The only big problem in adopting English as a medium of instruction is, of course, finding teachers fluent in English. This can be solved by introducing extensive teacher training programmes.

Khayyam Durrani

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2020


Living in Karachi
19 Jan 2021

Living in Karachi

The poor often end up paying more than middle-income segments.


Updated 19 Jan 2021

LNG contracts

It is important for industry to reconnect with the national grid and for gas to be allocated for more efficient uses.
19 Jan 2021

Murdered judges

THE continuous violence in Afghanistan has raised serious questions about the sustainability of the peace process, ...
19 Jan 2021

K2 feat

A TEAM of 10 Nepalese mountaineers made history over the weekend as they scaled the world’s second highest peak K2...
Updated 18 Jan 2021

More ignominy for PIA

Decades of mismanagement, nepotism and political opportunism were bound to take their toll.
18 Jan 2021

Agriculture woes

AGRICULTURE is the lifeline of Pakistan’s economy. It is a source of livelihood for two-thirds of the country’s...
18 Jan 2021

Internet access

AS the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, and shows few signs of dissipating, one of the many lessons policymakers should ...