The Central Institute of Indian Languages has reached 25 years of age and it is a time
for reflection about its origin, development, achievements and shortfalls.
The study of Indian language with the objective of preparing them for the new roles
of national reconstruction and development was the concern of many from the
independence of the country. The major responsibility to support such a study was to be
taken up by the State. The Kher Commission of the Government of India recommended
the establishment of three Central Institutes for this purpose. The Official Language
Resolution of 1968 made the Central Government also responsible for the development of
all Indian languages in addition to Hindi. These and other developments led to the
establishment of Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) in Mysore on July 17, 1969.
The primary objective of the Institute is the development of Indian languages ensuring
coordination between the various developmental activities at the governmental and non
governmental levels and also by orienting linguistic research for the development of Indian
languages. The Institute is also to contribute towards the maintenance of multilingualism
of the country through language teaching, and translation and to strengthen the common
bond between the Indian languages.
The work of the Institute consists of research, training and production of teaching
materials. The results of these activities can be seen in its more than 300 publications and
6879 teachers trained in its Regional Language Centres. The Institute has been able to make
an impact in language teaching in schools making it skill based and function oriented. It
has brought audio visual and computed technology to aid the teaching of Indian languages.
It has helped many tribal languages to be codified, described and used in education. Its
research and training programmes in social, physiological and folkloristic aspects of
language and culture have introduced new dimensions to research on Indian languages.
The International Institutes organised by the Institute in sociolinguistics, semiotics,
phonetics and other areas have helped the development of human resource in these areas.
The major problem of the Institute is that it cannot meet all language needs of the
whole country. It has to play the role of a catalyst and model setter. The other agencies are
to take over the universal implementation of the innovations. This has not taken place to
the desired extent.
In the coming years, the Institute plans to consolidate the earlier work and expand
the work in the areas of translation, computer applications and production of audio visual
materials. It wishes to strike new grounds in language evaluation and storage and
dissemination of language information. The Institute will move into anew Campus to carry
on the work with new vigour and vision.
One part of the Silver Jubilee Celebration is the publication of 25 special volumes.
The present book is one of these volumes.
General Remarks About the Position of English and Its
English is a legacy of the centuries of British colonial rule in India. Lord Macauley
made it clear in the British Parliament, before the introduction of English in the Indian
Schools and Colleges that the aim of English education was certainly to help the Indians,
to enable them to serve in different departments of the British Government in India. But
he was aware of the consequences when he said that being educated on the western lines,
the Indians would demand western institutions, and one day they would certainly demand
freedom from the Britishers, and the Britishers would lose an empire itself. And that would
be the greatest day in the British history. His prophecy came true, over a period of years
when some Indians received English education, they began to revolt against the British
rule in India and demanded freedom from all the shackles which cowed down the Indians
for centuries. There was a new wave of political awareness. This movement received a
hew momentum when Gandhiji plunged into Indian Politics. Under his leadership,
hundreds and thousands of English educated Indians like Nehru and others from all walks
of life, like doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, joined Congress, and fought for India’s
freedom. English became the strongest weapon in the armoury of the educated Indians.
Ever since then English has been associated with freedom, new ideas, and scientific
temperament. It has been enjoying a very prestigious position in all higher institutions of
learning. Benefits arising out of an ability to speak and write good English far outweighs
similar accomplishment in any other regional languages. Number of newspapers and
magazines published in English in India are always on the increase and overnumbering the
books published in any of the Indian languages.
English has been given the position of an official language (along with Hindi) in
Indian Constitution. All the proceedings of the Parliament get published in English. It has
been a very effective link language between the states and the centre. And it has been the
only language of national and international communication.
Indian University Education Commission has also expressed its opinion "English is
our only source at present for western culture, knowledge and research, and advancement
of higher studies and research, in Indian universities. And they could only be co-ordinated
and helped by the retention of English".
Educationists and people who are interested in the future of India are divided into
two groups: (i) Those who maintain that English should be continued as the Lingua Franca
and the Medium of Instruction and (ii) This group consists of some enthusiasts who argue
that English should be replaced by Hindi. And they also believe that otherwise there is no
scope for regional languages.
In spite of this controversy English has occupied a key position in our educational
programme in India. It is also a medium of instruction at the University stage. English
has conducted sparks of inspiration from the world outside to India and from India to the
world. We have paid a heavy price in the past for neglecting this privilege. And so it is
not wise to throw away the privilege which is already ours. If at all we do away with
English then we may have to condemn ourselves like Othello: "Of one whose hand
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe"
Although English is not richer than all our tribe, but it is a pearl all the same. So in
future it is good to retain English at least as an important second language, so that we may
keep open the only window of the knowledge and culture of the larger world.
1.2.(i) The Present Situation of Teaching English in the Schools and
Colleges of Karnataka
Conditions of teaching English in the colleges are full of problems and far from
satisfactory. A teacher in a P.U.C. class, is forced to pre-suppose that he is going to teach
the homogeneous elements. But in reality there is diversification. The students do not
have the same standard as far as their knowledge of English is concerned. Among other
things, one important reason for this phenomenon is that all of them might not have studied have the same standard as far as their knowledge of English is concerned. Among other
things, one important reason for this phenomenon is that all of them might not have studied
English from the beginning of their school education. Because only the children of the
educated and well-to-do people are usually sent to English schools (two years of pre-
primary school, four years of primary school), where all the subjects are taught to them in
English only. And they continue their (upper primary education) Middle school education
in the same pattern (all the subjects are taught to them in English only, except the first
language which is any one of the regional languages, generally the mother tongue of the
children). Obviously these students are exposed to the proper atmosphere, congenial to
pick up English at a very early stage of their education. The home atmosphere also
contributes very significantly in helping them to learn English. So, they are what one may
call linguistically advantageous students to learn English more or less in a natural way. At
this stage of their learning of the second language, the parents, teachers and relatives show
them a kind of sympathetic consideration, when, they commit errors and help them to
correct them without any kind of punishment or bitter reaction.
The disadvantaged students, the children of the poor and uneducated people who are
more in number than the advantaged students begin to study English as a second language
only when they come to V standard and all other subjects are taught to them in their mother
tongue. For such students English is taught as a subject and it continues to be a subject.
It hardly ever becomes the medium (here, in Karnataka the subjects are taught in Kannada).
So, there is no proper communication between the English teacher and the disadvantaged
| students. And most of these students do not have any opportunity of using or hearing
English either at their homes or at schools except in their English class. So, a difference
between the two kinds of students (the students coming from a Convent School and the
students coming from a Government Primary School) is very conspicuous. And it
continues when they come to their High School (from VIII standard to X standard). Here
also the difference in their skills of the English language is not narrowed down.
But when they come to the P.U.C. this difference may undergo some change because
of college atmosphere. The students will have some access to English newspapers and
magazines, etc. And they are exposed to the atmosphere where they notice their teachers,
sometimes their senior students or their own classmates who have come from-some English
medium schools and others speaking English. The announcement on the notice boards
will also have some influence on their rate of learning the language. But, it is very likely
that they may also encounter bad English on the notice boards, etc., in their college(s).
Many a time the teacher himself may not be competent enough to diagnose the errors of
the students and offer his suggestions to help them to correct their errors. The reasons
being that the training he received at a Teachers’ Training College or B.Ed. College is not
obviously an adequate one.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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