Have a fabulous 2012


Gaga: Rest in Peace (b.2002 - d.2010)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Goddess of English

BBC is banned in Pakistan ( I'm not their fan) and for this mere fact I visited their website to see what's going on?

On their front page was a report: "An 'English goddess' for India's down-trodden", this was an interesting article about Dalits (formerly untouchables-are a 200 million strong - same as the population of entire Pakistan) who have made a temple to worship the Goddess of the English Language (Angrezi Devi Maiyaa Ki) , which they believe will help them climb up the social and economic ladder. They are concerned that in 20 years, no job would go to anyone who doesn't know English.

The Indian Sub-continent was colonized by the British and therefore, English language was considered as a symbol of empowerment and modernity. Though these colonizers left us but English stayed on and played a key role in the lives of its populace until today. Status of English Language Education within our educational system created a class-divide. Over the years, this class-divide has created a very charged and polarized society to whom democracy, social justice or development means entirely different things.

While reading this article, I was equally concerned about the education for masses ( in government schools) in Pakistan that is anything but a joke and has deteriorated in the last decade or two. It is not that parents in Pakistan are not interested in educating their children or all teachers are insincere to their profession but the reality is that they have even risked their lives or have sold their internal organs like kidneys to pay for their children's educations.

We also have examples of  brave parents, brave teachers and brave students -  defying Taliban in some areas and that means challenging death. Despite all odds, nothing could deter the people to stop sending their children to schools in Pakistan. We have precedents such as firing on and hijacking of school buses and vans, grenade attacks, blowing up of schools, bomb explosions outside school gates to name the few tragedies faced by our young students. Their dedication and passion for getting education is examplary. No wonder, they want to be the elements of change for a brighter and progressive Pakistan. Unfortunately, they are robbed in the name of education because Pakistan's Educational Policy (PEP) is more deadly than Taliban's attack on educational institutions. This policy is discriminatory and has always created a clear divide between the rich and the poor and served the one percent against the 99 percent.

In Korea and Japan - all schools have same standarized syllabus, same examination paper to attempt and only one educational system for all under their respective laws. Sons and daughters of the emperors, kings, presidents and prime ministers all have to go to the same public schools.  No private schools are allowed in Korea and Japan. All the nationals (citizens) of Korea and Japan are ineligible to attend Embassy schools or International (Foreign) school for the expat community in their country. Moreover, education is given in Korean and Japanese languages in its entirety except for the subject English language. I also want to share that Japan is the second biggest economy and Korea is the 11 biggest economy of the world with very few people fluent in English so is there NOT a lot to learn from them?? In these countries everybody has to go through one school system - schools are highly competitive and try to maintain high standards despite rural -urban divide. Schools get incentives such as increase in their budget proposals and fundings IF their students TOP at the national level. Schools of any country mirror the future of a country and Korea and Japan have proved that.

It makes me crazy to see that our government is NOT doing enough to give Pakistani children equal opportunities like those for the wealthy. This is unfair, unjust and is a violation of their basic rights. In Pakistan good education, good English language education and Angrezi Medium School menia revolves around have and have-nots. In short, I will call it an educational genocide of the Pakistani children. 

No comments:

Post a Comment