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KONG JUNE 8-9, 2006
RAVINDER GARGESH Professor Department of
Linguistics University of Delhi DELHI-110007 INDIA
General View
  • Language use in education depends on the
    linguistic situation of a country
  • Intimately bound are the issues of language
    rights, language empowerment, language promotion,
    language policy and language planning
  • A multi layered or multi strata based solution
  • Serious problems in the formation of educational
    policy in the context of medium of
  • Problem of shift from one medium to another

Plan of the Paper This paper attempts to present
the Indian scene as follows
  • Presents the socio linguistic perspective of the
    country with special reference to the English
  • Presents the de jure position in the context of
    bilingualism and the education scenario
  • Presents a broad picture of the universities in
    India, with special reference to the medium of
  • Presents a broad picture of the University of
    Delhi, with special reference to the media of

India has a population of over a billion
people(1,027,015,247 as per the Census of India
2001), 1652 Mother Tongues (1961 Census), 67
educational languages and an area of 3,287,590 SQ
KM. India is a multilingual giant.
  • Characteristic feature of Indian multilingualism
  • Allocation of social roles to different
  • Pandit(1976 172-173) provides an apt example
  • Language use of an Indian businessman living in a
    suburb of Bombay
  • His mother tongue and home language is a dialect
    of Gujrati
  • In the market he uses a familiar variety of
    Marathi, the state language
  • At the railway station he speaks the pan-India
    lingua-franca, Hindustani
  • His language of work is Kachhi, the code of the
    spice trade
  • In the evening he watches a film in Hindi or in
  • Listens to a cricket match commentry on the radio
    in English

Languages of India
  • -Language families Indo-Aryan, Dravidian,
    Austro-Asiatic and Sino-Tibetan.
  • Indo-Aryan and Dravidian cover over 97 of the
  • Grierson - 179 languages to 544 dialects -
    Linguistic Survey of India (1888 and 1927)
  • 1951 census - 845 languages including dialects
  • More than 10,000 speakers each speak 60 of these
  • 1961 census -1652 mother tongues corresponding to
    193 classified languages
  • Classified languages belong to four language
  • Austric (20), Dravidian (20), Indo-Aryan (54) and
    Tibeto-Burman (98)
  • 1971, 1981, and 1991 Census - distribution of
    household population is presented along with the
    Schedule VIII languages and other major languages
  • Census 2001 Language figures not yet available
  • Mr. Jaipal Reddy, Union Minister of Culture,
    stated in the Rajya Sabha on December 13, 2004.,
    There are 3,372 languages in India, 10,000
    persons or more speak only 216 languages.
  • 85 languages out of the 216 are subsumed under
    the 18 scheduled languages, the remaining 131 are
    classified as non-scheduled languages.

Multilingualism and Convergence
  • All major languages of India exist beyond their
    home territory
  • Border areas reveal a state of diffusion --
    contact patterns
  • Frequent code-switching vital function for
    intelligibility condition
  • Close contact formation of Pidgins
  • Halbi Convergence of Chattisgarhi, Oriya and
  • Malwi Rajasthani and Gujarati
  • Saurashtri Convergence of Gujarati and Tamil
    (unrelated languages)
  • Kupwar dialect shows features of Kannada,
    Marathi and Urdu

Bilingualism/Multilingualism and the Census
All major languages of India exist beyond their
home territory
Distribution of the 18 scheduled languages in
some states (Source Census of India
1991) Numbers of speakers in States
Languages Andhra Haryana
Maharashtra Uttar West
Pradesh Bengal
Assamese 1,302 348
2,310 2,844
4,021 Bengali 30,281 9,995
161,497 263,917
58,541,519 Gujrati 43,844
2,266 2,016,381 11,311
38,319 Hindi 1,841,290
14,982,409 6,168,941 66,761,621
2,602,268 Kannada 519,507
936 1,060,701 3,727
1,624 Kashmiri 612
923 2,680
5,227 462 Konkani 3,794
148 312,618
364 944 Malayalam
66,409 1,257 340,597
15,721 17,215 Manipuri
221 75
748 576
824 Marathi 503,609 3,088
57,894,839 17,698
11,849 Nepali 6,634
5,823 39,751 99,859
860,403 Oriya 129,697
2,634 38,183
14,742 70,001 Punjabi 24,773
1,170,225 225,511
661,215 1,376 Sanskrit
199 81 277
44,847 41 Sindhi
12,919 369
618,696 52,168
5,404 Tamil 753,484 5,202
427,447 15,569
25,797 Telugu 56,375,755 2,402
1,122,332 10,597
108,443 Urdu 2,836,179 261,820
5,734,468 12,492,927 1,455,649
Bilingualism/Multilingualism and English
  • 1961 bilingualism returns of 15 states and the
    union territory of Delhi show
  • Hindi-Urdu (H-U) and English (E) together ½
    bilingual population
  • (52.5 H-U 26.8 E 25.7) (Khubchandani
  • Overall picture is one of growth
  • National average for bilingualism is on the
  • 9.7 in 1961 ? 13.04 in 1971 ? 13.34 in 1981 ?
    19.44 in 1991. (Vijaynunni 1999)
  • Hindi a language of wider communication/link
  • for trade/commerce, mass entertainment and
    informal inter-group interaction
  • Khuchandani (1994 19) Consolidation of English
    during 1961-1971
  • bilinguals with English increased from 26 to 35
    of the bilingual population. The present figure
    till the arrival of new data stands at 57.3
  • Hindi returned as second or third language by
    70 million (of 807 million) speakers of scheduled
    languages (8.67)
  • English - returned as second/third language 90
    million people (11.15 8 report it as second
    language and 3.15 as a third language)

Functional Role of English in Multilingual India
  • (1) for acquiring knowledge - library language
    - creates passive bilinguals
  • (2) for restricted needs tourism - vehicular
    language- unstable bilinguals with partial
  • (3) complementary function - link language-
    creates stable type of bilinguals with partial
  • (4) equative function - an alternate language in
    all domains - ambilinguals

De Jure Status of Languages
  • The Constitution of India adopted on Nov. 26,
    1949 in the Constituent Assembly
  • Effective date Jan 26, 1950
  • Provisions about languages
  • Part XVII deals with the official language of the
    Union in 4 Chapters.
  • Chapter I Language of the Union (Articles 343
    and 344
  • Chapter II Regional Languages (Articles 345-347)
  • Chapter III Language of the Supreme Court, High
    Courts etc. (Art. 348-49)
  • Chapter IV Special Directives (Articles 350-351)

Chapter I Language of the Union (Articles 343
and 344)
  • Article 343 Hindi in the Devanagari script as
    the official language of the Union stipulates
    Art. 343(3) English should continue to be used
    for another period of 15 years
  • Article 344 The President empowered to
    constitute an official language commission after
    5 years and then to review the progress made by
    Hindi after 10 years

Chapter II Regional Languages (Articles
  • Art.345 Empowers Legislature of a State to adopt
    as official language any one or more languages in
    use in that State or Hindi
  • Art. 346 Official language of the Union shall be
    the official language for communication between
    one State and another State, and between a State
    and the Union
  • Art. 347 On demand the President may direct the
    use of language if demanded by a sizable number
    of people

Chapter III Language of the Supreme Court, High
Courts etc. (Art. 348-49)
  • Art. 348 The language of the Supreme Court and
    the High Court shall be English until the
    Parliament by law otherwise provides
  • Bills, authoritative texts of Acts, Byelaws,
    Rules, and Regulations etc shall also be in
  • States in addition may use their official
    language/languages for this purpose but English
    text/texts will be authoritative
  • Art 349 No change in the language of Bills,
    Acts, Rules, Bye-Laws etc can be contemplated for
    15 years and after that period the President must
    be satisfied of the need for a change

Chapter IV Special Directives (Articles 350-351)
  • Art. 350 provides for every person to submit a
    representation for the redress of any grievance
    to any officer of authority of the Union or a
    State in any of the languages used in the Union
    or the State, as the case may be
  • Article 350A Every State and every local
    authority is directed to provide adequate
    facilities for instruction in the mother tongue
    at the primary stage of education to children
    belonging to linguistic minority groups.
  • Art 350B A special officer for linguistic
    minorities to be appointed by the President who
    is to investigate all matters relating to the
    safeguards provided for linguistic minorities
    under this Constitution and report to the
    President upon these matters at such intervals as
    the President may direct, and the President shall
    cause all such reports to be laid before each
    House of Parliament, and sent to the Governments
    of the States concerned.
  • Art 351 Govt. to promote the spread of Hindi
    language in such a way that it may serve as a
    medium of expression for the composite culture of
    India and to secure its enrichment by
    assimilating the forms, style and expressions
    used in Hindustani and in other languages of
    India and by drawing for its vocabulary,
    primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other

Some other provisions
  • Art. 120 in Part V and Art. 210 in Part VI of the
    Constitution vest powers in the presiding
    officers of the Union and State legislatures to
    use their discretion for allowing any member to
    speak in his mother tongue if he is unable to
    speak in the recognized official language or
  • VIII Schedule today has a total of 22 languages
    in the list of scheduled languages In 1949
    these were 14 languages, including Sanskrit,
    Hindi and Urdu
  • In 1967 Sindhi was added to the list
  • In 1992 Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were added
  • In 2004 Dogri, Maithili, Rajasthani and Santhali
    were added.
  • The languages of the Eighth Schedule are more
    concerned with Art. 345 and 351. The former
    empowers a State government to adopt one or more
    languages or Hindi for official use in the State.
  • A demand for the inclusion of English in the
    Eighth Schedule was made in a meeting of the CABE
    (Central Advisory Board of Education) in early
    August 2004. One of the issues widely reported
    was the discussion on the inclusion of English
    in the list of modern Indian languages (The
    Times of India August 12, 2004, p.2)

Languages in Education
  • The Three Language Formula was first devised for
    school education by the Central Advisory Board of
    Education in 1956, subsequently modified by the
    Conference of Chief Ministers in 1961, and
    formalized by the (Kothari) Education Commission
    (1964-6) (see Aggarwal 1993 175-193)
  • Based on the following three factors
  • (a) recognition of the right of ethnic minorities
    to get educational instruction through their MT,
  • (b) promotion of state official language as a
    major regional language for bringing the
    different ethnic groups of the region into the
    socio-cultural mainstream,
  • (c) development of pan-Indian official language
    of the Union for the integration of the country
    as a polity.

The Three Language Formula
  • Recognizes the following languages
  • The first language to be studied must be mother
    tongue or the regional standard.
  • The second language In Hindi speaking states
    will be some other modern Indian language (MIL)
    or English, and, in non-Hindi speaking states
    will be Hindi or English.
  • The third language in Hindi speaking states will
    be English or an MIL not studied as second
    language, and in non-Hindi speaking states
    English or Hindi not studied as the second
  • Implications Teaching of the first language
    commenced from class I, the teaching of the
    second language was recommended from Class VI or
    a bit earlier from class III, or at a convenient
    stage depending upon the resources of a state.
    The third language was also recommended to be
    taught from Class VI (Gargesh 2002
  • Presently - an increasing trend to begin teaching
    of English as a subject from Class I, e.g. Delhi,
    Haryana and Bihar have begun to teach English as
    an additional subject from Class I from the year
    2000, 2002 and 2003 respectively.
  • The 1967 Official Language Amendment Act has
    ensured the continuation of English and this has
    affected the domain of education

Language for higher education
  • Debates regarding the medium of instruction in
    education in India since independence
  • 1. Education Commission (1948)
  • English has become so much a part of our
    national habit English cannot continue to
    occupy the place of state language as in the
  • 2. Kunzru Committee (1955)
  • (a) Change in the medium of instruction at the
    university stage should not be hastened
  • (b) Even after the change English should continue
    to be studied by all university students
  • (c) English should be retained as a properly
    studied second language in our universities
  • 3. The Education Commission (1964-66)
  • (a) Concerted effort needed for Hindi/regional
    languages as the media of instruction
  • (b) The medium of examination should be the same
    as the medium of instruction
  • (c) English should be studied and taught as a
    library language
  • (d) No student should be allowed to graduate
    unless he is proficient in English
  • (e) The universities should offer special courses
    in remedial English and English for Special
  • 4. National Integration Council (1962) observed
  • Need to make regional languages as media of
    instruction at the university stage.
  • 5. The Working Group of the University Grants
    Commission (1978)
  • (a) English has the advantage in publications and
    reference materials over RLs
  • (b) Employment prospects of students educated
    through English medium are better
  • (c) The shift from RLs to English in universities
    (instruction) ia a problem

Language for higher education
  • English in higher education was viewed as Indias
    window to the worlds technical and scientific
    information and knowledge
  • The Report of the Committee for review of
    National Policy on Education 1986 notes that the
    regional languages are already in use as media of
    education at the primary and secondary stages.
    Urgent steps should now be taken to adopt them as
    media of education at the university stage
    (Ramamurti 1990 250)
  • It also mentions that the Education Commission
    of 1964-66 had called for a changeover to the
    regional language media over a ten-year time
    frame but that progress in this regard has not
    been uniform or satisfactory (Ramamurti 1990
  • The Ministrys document Programme of Action
    (1992 178-179) acknowledges that university
    teachers having received education through
    English find it difficult to teach through Indian
    languages, and that Indian language-medium
    courses are generally not popular amongst the
    students because of lack of professional
    comparability and poor employment potential.
  • It is true that the higher we move in education
    and the more we aspire for professional
    excellence the only medium left at the top is

De facto language use in society
  • English is used throughout the length and breadth
    of the country
  • Number of speakers of English in India Between
    30-50 million (estimate basis 3-5 as per Kachru
    1986 54) to about 200 million (estimate basis
    20 as per Encyclopedia Britannica 2002 796 and
    Crystal 2003 50)
  • Positive attitude towards the language
  • Most significant language for obtaining
  • Language of prestige in higher education
  • Careers in business and commerce, government
    positions of high rank (regardless of stated
    policy), and science and technology (attracting
    many of the brightest) continue to require
    fluency in English

Attitude towards English
  • Some studies related to attitudes towards English
  • Abbi, Gupta and Gargesh (2000)
  • English is overwhelmingly sought as a medium of
    education but not as a mother tongue.
  • Agnihotri and Khanna (1997 74) more than 90
    informants want some amount of English to be
    used, in teaching at all levels of education
  • One of the major reasons for learning English is
    the instrumental function that it is also seen
    as a means for enhancing social mobility and
    individual personality (ibid 85)
  • 77 of the informants believe that progress in
    science and technology will be hampered without
    English (ibid 90)
  • Attitude towards English speaking Indians More
    than 60 informants considered them to be
    sensitive to Indian culture and they also
    perceived them to be progressive and honest.
  • There is strong parental encouragement for the
    study of English. The extent of positive
    attitudes towards English indicates that English
    is here to stay for quite some time as a valuable

Major language for obtaining information
  • Narendra Kumar, President of the Federation of
    Indian Publishers says that a sizeable portion
    of this clientele higher education is the
    reader of English books (199841).
  • Of the about 3000 active publishers in India
    about 1/3 publish in English and the rest are
    shared by 21 other languages (Kumar 1998 44)
  • Newspapers Published in India in about a 100
  • Amongst the multi edition dailies, The Times of
    India edited simultaneously from seven cities has
    the largest total circulation of 1,695,945 copies
    followed by Malayala Manorama (eight editions)
    with a circulation of 1,132,813 copies, Dainik
    Jagran (12 editions) in Hindi is third with a
    circulation of 1,122,544 copies (Press in India
    2000 21).
  • Radio A total time of 12 hrs 20 minutes is
    devoted to news in the Home Service out of which
    2 hours 25 minutes are taken up by 21 news
    broadcasts in English while Hindi takes up 2
    hours and 30 minutes for 20 news broadcasts. The
    remaining languages get between 10 to 40 minutes
  • TVIn the National Network News in English gets
    six slots in a day which totals a 100 programs
    in the English medium. The educational programs
    too have a high percentage of programs in
  • Abbi, Gupta and Gargesh (2000) more of English
    is used in India when the aim is to provide

Higher Education in India A glimpse
  • University Network
  • About 324 Universities including
  • 95 Deemed Universities
  • 162 Traditional Universities
  • 40 Agricultural / Forestry / Fisheries /
    Veterinary Universities
  • 36 Engineering and Technology Institutes such as
    Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institute
    of Science, etc.
  • 18 Medical Universities
  • 11Open Universities
  • 18 National Institutes of Technology
  • 17625 Colleges of Engineering, Medical, Arts,
    Humanities, Social Sciences, Commerce, Science
    and Management Education.

Language as medium of instruction and examination
2003-04 (108 Univs.)
  • Faculty/Subject E- E- H/RL-
    H/RL- Languages
  • Arts 52 53
    30 30
    H(18), P(2), G(3),

  • K(2),T,B(3),Mar(2)
  • Science 64 64
    07 07 H(4), G(2), T
  • Comp Science 32 32 03
    03 H, Skt, G,
  • Commerce 36 36 06
    06 H(2),
    G(3), T
  • MBA 37 37 03
    03 H(2), G
  • Engineering 34 34 01
    01 H
  • Medicine 19 19 02
    02 H(2)
  • Education 38 38 16
    16 H(10),
    G(2), K,B, Mar(2)

  • Law 23 23 08
    08 H(6), G, P
  • Agriculture 16 16 02
    02 H(2)
  • Vet. Science 12 12 01
    01 H
  • Others 58 59 26
    26 H(17),

Medium of Instruction and Examination in
University of Delhi
  • Faculty-wise Distribution of Students during the
    Year 2003-2004
  • --------------------------------------------------
  • Name of Faculty REGULAR NON-FORMAL
  • --------------------------------------------------
  • 1. Arts 41826 102427
    144253 E/H
  • 2. Ayur.
  • Unani-Medicine
    605 605 H/S/U
  • 3. Inter-Disciplinary 1782
    1782 E
  • 4. Mathematical Sc. 5768 --
    5768 E
  • 5. Medicine 2149
    2149 E
  • 6. Music Fine Arts 486
    486 E/H
  • 7. Science 15449
    15449 E
  • 8. Social Science 16249
    2798 19047
  • 9. App.Soc.Sc. 1799
    1799 E
  • 10. Commerce
  • Business 27877
    73236 101113 E/H
  • 11. Technology 3958
    3958 E
  • 12. Education 763
    763 E/H

Medium of Instruction and Examination in
University of Delhi
  • Faculty-wise Distribution of Students
  • --------------------------------------------------

  • Name of Faculty REGULAR
  • --------------------------------------------------
  • 1. Arts 3121 3149
    6270 E/H
  • 2. Ayur. Unani-Medicine 0 0
    0 H/S/U
  • 3. Inter-Disciplinary 418
    418 E
  • 4. Mathematical Sc. 1199 231
    1430 E
  • 5. Medicine
    1042 1042 E
  • 6. Music Fine Arts 309
    309 E/H
  • 7. Science 3269
    3269 E
  • 8. Social Science 1873 601
    2474 E/H
  • 9. App.Soc.Sc. Humanities 243
    243 E
  • 10. Commerce Business 801 1662
    2463 E/H
  • 11. Technology 366
    366 E
  • 12. Education 697
    697 E/H
  • 13. Law 3913
    3913 E

Perceived benefits of English-medium education
  • English is a highly developed language and is at
    present best suited for the countrys industrial
    and scientific progress
  • English is less divisive because of its neutral
  • English enables the educated Indian to move about
    inside and outside the country
  • English brightens the students prospects of
    getting prestigious jobs
  • English is still the language of administration
    at the Center and in many States.
  • Beneficial for good effective education
  • Helps the country in maintaining a competitive
    edge in the production technical manpower

Problems Perceived in English-medium education
  • Very large population does not use English in
    daily life
  • Those who come through the RL medium find it
    difficult to cope with English medium at higher
  • There is a need for creating effective
    intermediate language courses so that the shift
    in medium at any stage doesnt remain a major
  • Need to perceive English as a functional language
    rather than as an elite language that creates
    socio-political conflict.

  • English occupies a special place in the domains
    of education, law and administration.
  • It is widely believed that one cannot become an
    engineer, doctor, lawyer, scientist, pilot etc.
    without proven proficiency in English.
  • It has been absorbed in the multilingual fabric
    of India.
  • Creative writings reveal that English in India is
    undergoing a process of decolonization.
  • The main Educational goal is to minimize social
    and economic disparities and to create a positive
    discrimination in favor of the weak by giving
    each person an opportunity to learn this
  • Intermediate programs of English need to be
    created which may enable students to smoothly
    switchover from a regional language to English as
    a medium of instruction in higher education.
  • The present system of English Language education
    is unable to meet the growing aspirations of the
    people in the new globilized contexts. Hence, the
    mushrooming of private English medium schools.
  • In the emerging new situation using RP would be
    an impractical goal with so many varieties of
    Indian English today. We are gradually moving
    towards an indigenous standardized Indian English.

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