New post on World Education Blog
by EFA Report
Credit: UNESCO/Amina Sayeed
By Bushra Rahim, PhD student.
“If we start speaking other languages and forget our own, we would not be we, we would be clones of an alien people; we would be aliens to ourselves” (UNESCO, The Use of Vernacular Languages in Education, 1958)
The Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) announced that the medium of instruction would change from Urdu to English in public schools from April this year. The arguments put forward for the change were to make public schools the same as private schools in the province and to provide a uniform education to all children. But did the government of KP take into consideration the following questions? 1) What is the preferred medium of instruction of parents, students and teachers? 2) What is the impact of changing the medium of instruction on educational outcomes? 3) What does international research on the subject tell us?
In order to understand people’s perceptions about their preferred medium of instruction we need to know first about the most commonly spoken languages in KP. According to the 1998 Census, 74% population of KP speaks Pashto, 3.9% speak Siraiki, 1% Punjabi, 0.8% Urdu and 20.4% speak other languages. A more recent household survey by the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012 shows that the four commonly used languages in the province are: Pashto (77%), Hindko (11%), Siraiki (3.5%), Chitrali (3%) and others (5.5%). Changing the medium of instruction to English, therefore, means that most children are learning in a language that is not their own. Read more of this post