Most of the government aided schools all over India use the regional languages as their mode of education, with English as a subject in elementary form. The general atmosphere of indiscipline together with political and bureaucratic interference leads to lack of quality education and these students find it out of their depth when they go in for professional courses.
The basic problem being the lack of development of regional languages vis-a-vis subjects of science and technology. The books of regional language on varied subjects of science such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Calculus, Statistics and Information Technology have not been developed to the level of books in the English language. The usage of words relating to technical terms in Hindi or regional language is not correct and sometimes they sound absurd. Besides this, one important factor which has resulted in English subjugating regional languages is that most of the meritorious students have the aim of going in for higher studies in foreign countries.
The prime requisite for securing scholarship and admissions, in most of the renowned universities of the world, is the knowledge of and fluency in English. This definitely weighs on the mind of good students. The same qualification is necessary for pursuing technical and professional courses in reputed institutions of India. Obviously the reference books for these subjects, by foreign authors, are also in English and these are the books advised by the professors.
It is not surprising that the preference for books in the English languages far exceeds the demand for books in Hindi or vernacular languages, specially for higher, professional and technical subjects. These include courses in Management, Medical and Engineering besides the latest on Information Technology. Naturally publishers would think twice about investing their money in production of books which would not be economically feasible. After all its their business. The deduction of the topic is true in this case.
Besides academics, we consider other phases of our society and services. The majority of middle class in our country consider ‘spoken English’ as a prime qualification for being considered ‘elite’ and ‘modern’. It is a trend which is gaining momentum and even the migrated rural population who have settled in urban areas, are making efforts to master a spattering of the language. All this at the cost of efforts which could be made in mastering the local vernacular languages.
The advancement of their offsprings in life, improvement of their social circle and status, satisfying their own egos, all depend on their volubility in this foreign language. Naturally the prosperity of our Regional Languages suffer. If we look at the functioning of our law courts, specially the High and Supreme Courts with the base of the British system, a judge and lawyer would find it difficult to function without this foreign language. All our judgments and law books available are mostly in English. Our bureaucracy, specially the higher echelons and the Union Ministry, with Administrative Officers from varied backgrounds and all parts of the country, would be totally lost without the usage of English. Naturally our IAS officers are supposed to be proficient and knowledgeable in English.
Due to these factors the Regional and Vernacular Languages suffer. How is it that the Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish and others have not found the necessity of English medium books for their professional courses? Their education system have ensured proper teaching and literature in their own languages. But the answer is also there. There is a common language used all over the country in these places which are ethnic and understood by all. The example of China where to name a few they have Manchurian, Catonese and Mandarin languages but they have found a common language for all be spoken, used and studied, called the National Language. Unfortunately our country has not been able to develop a consensus on the use of Hindi as the National Languages all over the country, although it is officially so. The implementation of this, nationwide, would have definitely facilitated the development of books on scientific subjects because of sales all over the country, making it economically feasible for institutions and authors.
The state sponsored education system for junior students upto the Higher Secondary standards, have been making the effort since long, but they have not met with a high degree of success because most of the books are qualitatively substandard. Another major factor which has been a drawback for development of Indian Regional Languages vis-a-vis English language, is the lack of discipline in state sponsored institutions. This has resulted in the administration and faculty of these schools ignoring their responsibility. The parents who can afford prefer to get their children admitted to missionary and public schools. These schools, which produce te elite amongst students, have the English language as their medium of education.
Due to this the regional languages suffer. Naturally, as a conclusion of this factor, a serious effort is needed to improve the quality of education imparted in State sponsored schools right from discipline, to teachers and books. Then only will our ethnicity progress. Overall, it needs a concerted effort from private and public enterprises, non-governmental organizations, authors, teachers and the citizens, to overcome the overwhelming influence of English language which is definitely detrimental to the development of our Indian languages.
What we have to rise above petty differences and the whirlpool of corruption in which we are being dragged down. If statistics on literacy is studied then we find a vast difference between the advanced States of the country and the backward ones, in the Hindi belt. A recent survey depicted 52 per cent people in the age group of seven years and above are literate. The southern States have literacy figures in the above 80% level which obviously means that Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajastan, Himachal Pradesh etc have literacy figures plunging in the 20% range. Considering the predictions of UNICEF, that the 21stCentury will see the world illiterate population soar to 100crore with 50% of them will be from India which is 50 crore and out of this 50 crore 35 crore will be from the Hindi belt.
Unless literacy figures are improved in actuality, there can be minimal development of our languages. This can, also improve, only through a concerted effort by all. The advantages of being fluent in English are for too many compared to our ethnic languages and unless we can prove the superiority of our own languages over the former, the speed of development overall and of our languages can only be restricted.