According to a news report in today's Hindu (unfortunately not available on their online edition yet), Union Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi has made a strong plea for abolishing English as medium of education, saying it hampered in bringing out the best in a child.
Here's what he is supposed to have said:
The medium of education should be the national language, regional language or one's mother tongue so that the child does not have to work twice as hard at grasping the language and then the subject.
Education in one's mother tongue makes understanding of a subject easier for a child, so why put him to great pains of grappling with a foreign language."
The mother tongue as the medium of education could well be more effective than English, but any regional language or the national language (if it is different from the mother tongue)? Most politicians understand the underlying market realities and benefits quite well and choose English over their mother tongues when it comes to choosing the medium of education for their children.
Hopefully the Minister's strong plea to abolish English as the medium of education will remain just one of his pet ideas and not get any closer to being thrust on the nation, unlike some of his other pet ideas.
It would have been better form for the Minster to propose positively that more schools should come up with the mother tongue as the medium of education rather than proposing negatively that we must abolish English as the medium of instruction.
Though I must say the Minster's quotes in print don't use the world abolish, so I'm not sure if he acutally used the word himself or if it was introduced by the person who wrote the story (The Hindu attributed the story to UNI).