Schools are places of learning. Knowledge is imparted to little children in a formal manner. In many schools, the medium of teaching is in the English language. In some schools, the medium of education is in the regional language or mother tongue with English as one of the subjects. In India, many of these schools have a reputation of being elite. Getting admission for a child into a reasonably good English school can be a nightmare. It can also be expensive, both to get the child admitted as well as the subsequent annual fees.
In the decade gone by, the number of children studying in English schools in India has increased to a staggering number. During the year 2010 – 11, the number of such children increased to more than two crore. This number is taking into account only children studying in classes I – VIII. For many years in a row, English now leads the medium of instruction in India. Regional language enrolment has also seen an increase, but the increase is highest for English.
The move towards English medium schools is mainly on account of a desire to be able to communicate freely in a world where English is the dominant international language. Being equipped with good English, gives the children an edge in the competitive world. But many argue that there is no need to study in English for this purpose. At an age when conceptual education takes place, the medium of education should preferably be the child’s mother tongue. English can be an add on as one of the subjects at school. This is the practice followed in many Asian countries like Japan.
The problem arises on account of the fact that the regional language schools do not teach English properly or adequately and an impression is created that the child will be fluent in English only if it studies in an English medium school. If the regional languages schools are well equipped to teach English as a subject, then regional language schools can do better in school enrolment. Many educationists are also of the view that if the child learns one language, preferably mother tongue well, it will pick up a second language like English faster. Many Indians prefer sending their children to English medium schools on account of career aspirations and the desire to be upwardly mobile, as well as be able to comfortably move about internationally.