Bilingual educational programmes in Indian schools

Addressing the English language needs of the Country

Authored by: Mihika Shah

The Routledge International Handbook of English, Language and Literacy Teaching

Print publication date:  February  2010
Online publication date:  February  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415469036
eBook ISBN: 9780203863091
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183141


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India is a multilingual country where 1,652 languages belonging to five different language families are used (National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), 2006a). English, however, enjoys the position of power and prestige, and knowledge of English results in a huge socioeconomic divide. One of the major reasons that English is not equally accessible to the country’s majority is the government’s inconsistency in official declaration and behaviour vis-à-vis English. Currently, there is no integrated national policy that governs the teaching of English in schools and colleges across India. The great challenge is providing English language education to a population of over one billion with limited resources. However, this basic need of the people must be satisfied, as economic opportunities available in English are not available in the regional languages. The educational system of the country needs to undergo a radical transformation if the goal of providing equality through education is to be met.

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