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Childern living in slums dreaming for Basic Education and English Language.


Childern living in slums dreaming for Basic Education and English Language.

By Amood Gulzar

A girl child living in urban Slums of Aligarh  will be groomed to become an English-speaking citizen one day!

I feel ashamed and sorry for a situation where a group of childern for whom we start  play and Learning centre . There are government schools with amazing infrastructure and qualified staff, but English is an alien language in these precincts. English as a language is undoubtedly a burden left behind by the British on the fragile shoulders of the struggling millions in third world nations. Nevertheless, it is a language that is crucial to connect and progress.

As a teacher and counselor, I have always wondered if quality education is the birth right of only those who belong to privileged classes. Every child (poor or rich) deserves quality education. Unfortunately, this seems like a far-fetched dream in India as of now.

As part of the education initiative of the NGO SOCH...beyond the imagination  I’m working for, I have been involved in teaching children at our literacy centres for the childern of slums from several  years. The enthusiasm, involvement, and curiosity to learn is the same in all these children. Is it then not criminal to confine intelligence and creativity to only those who can afford it?

The IQ or merit of a child from an unprivileged background is in no way inferior to a child belonging to an elite family. The only difference is that they don’t have the opportunity nor the needed platform to express themselves. In short, social status is the deterrent that thwarts their dreams of aspiring big. It’s a huge barrier for students who are instructed in regional languages to compete with children from English medium schools.
It rather shocked me on the first day at school to see students write their names in  English on  notebooks which our organisation provided them . I strongly believe that the language is the important aspect of life nowdays in order to exist in  every state it is very important  and that it must be nurtured, but at the same time, we need to remember that English is the link language which will help students in connecting with the rest of the world

The aim of any educational initative should be to make the students able to read the things and to write the things keeping in mind the recent trends of world English teaching programme should be to prepare children to be fairly conversant in the language and to be able to communicate with others when they leave school. They might be able to work in any standard environment.

My question to government run schools is “Why do English teachers not take an interest in teaching the language better?” Lack of motivation seems to soar high in these schools. If I’m right, the teachers draw state government salaries. Some even have done certified courses at the British Council! Courses are conducted to improve English speaking skills for teachers. Why then are children not the beneficiaries of such programmes? This persistent problem needs to be tackled astutely with teachers being motivated to teach English in a sincere manner despite the language’s secondary status in a multi-lingual nation like ours.

Many civil society organisations are working towards the realization of “leave no one behind”, by working with government schools, but it is also the duty of governing bodies to ensure that every child from the lowest strata of society is provided the space to be conversant in English. Right To Education is a great way of including children in private schools, but what is the percentage?

Education is the fundamental right of every child as is promised by the 2010 Act, but it does not guarantee ‘quality’ education. The education ministry in every state should seriously consider the option of a well devised Bilingual curriculum, as the human brain is wired to learn a language at an early age. It has cognitive, social, emotional and professional advantages. If the texts are in vernacular languages, then a couple of lessons can be discussed in English helping students to acquire proficiency in both. This small leap forward will make children equal partners in the journey of learning. This will also address the issues of nurturing the heritage of regional languages and providing necessary support to learn a foreign one. Balancing such a situation needs a lot of brainstorming by the Education Ministry and bilingual experts.

At last pay my sincere thanks to my Team SOCH For looking forward for the future of these childern who want to study.

You can email the writer on;
amoodgulzar786@gmail.com

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