The language of success

For a country that speaks 22 official languages and over a thousand dialects, the English language enjoys an uncanny position of privilege. While there do exist large factions of Indian society that equate learning or speaking English to “Anglicisation” or “Westernisation”, for many Indians it continues to be a language of opportunity and aspiration. A general consensus seems to be that the better your skills in English, the quicker your climb on the ladder of socio-economic success.

Naturally, a desire to send their children to English medium schools is no longer limited to the privileged classes. A recent report in DNA talks about the plummeting enrolment rates in BMC (vernacular medium) schools owing to increased aspirations amongst underprivileged communities to send children to English medium private schools or BMC schools.

The quality of teaching and learning levels of students in these schools remains questionable. Read this article by ASER on “ When and how English should be taught in schools”. The author leaves us with an interesting thought, “The debate in India around when and how English should be taught needs to be widened both in scope and substance to encompass the language skills more broadly. More research needs to be done in India to systematically explore how languages can be learned more meaningfully and how they can grow more organically from what children already know.” See more.


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Atma has recently been awarded a grant to work on a joint project with our portfolio organisations Sahyog and Zaya. 10 young local women from low-income communities will be trained by Zaya to improve their employability prospects and social standing within their communities.English language training is one of the key components of this project.