ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NEP 2020 and the Language-in-Education Policy in India

The National Education Policy of India 2020 is a significant policy document laying the national-level strategy for the new millennium. It is ambitious and claims universal access to quality education as its key aim, keeping with the Sustainable Development Goal 4 of the United Nations Agenda 2030. One of the highlights of the NEP is its emphasis on mother tongue education at the primary levels in both state- and privately owned schools. The present paper critically assesses the NEP 2020, primarily in relation to the language-in-education policy. The paper argues that it presents a “contradiction of intentions,” aspiring towards inclusion of the historically disadvantaged and marginalised groups on the one hand, while practising a policy of aggressive privatisation and disinvestment in public education on the other.

Deploying Cultural, Social and Emotional Capital

This paper examines the experiences of Anglo-Indian women teaching in Bengaluru’s English medium private schools to understand how they negotiate professional constraints by drawing on Diane Reay’s feminist extension of Pierre Bourdieu’s “forms of capital.” It argues that her concept of “emotional capital” can be used to explain how interviewees attempt to overcome their limited cultural and social capital. We also suggest that Arlie Hochschild’s notion of “emotional labour,” distinct from Reay’s emotional capital, when deployed alongside the latter, highlights the complex negotiations that interviewees undertake. In doing so, this work attempts to contribute a minority perspective to research on schoolteachers’ lives. In the process, it also seeks to extend emotional capital (a concept Reay deployed to explain mothers’ investment in their children) to understand women’s professional experiences.

Of Sounds, Words and Sentences

The dynamics of sounds, words and sentences embellish our language. Recursion and structure dependency along with various other factors affect our language. The article goes into the nitty-gritties of the uniqueness of language, adding new words to language and its usage.

English Language Education in India: How Aspirations for Social Mobility Shape Pedagogy

While English is not the official language of India, it has become the language of the ruling elite. Fluency in English is extremely sought after and brings with it the potential for social mobility to the underprivileged sections of society. But is an English-medium education the solution? */ */

Learning and Language

In low-cost private schools in India, English as a medium of instruction attracts children of poorly educated parents with a low-income background. A primary survey in Delhi and the National Capital Region finds that mediating primary-level education through an unfamiliar language poses language barriers and adversely affects the learning outcome. The agency in using English for communication is limited. The learning deficit is undetected through successive grades in the primary level due to translation- and memorisation-based teaching processes, and focus on textbook-based exercises. The study finds that parents do not get a fair exchange in return for committing their limited resources towards education.

Breaking the Chaturvarna System of Languages

The Indian language policy is informed by a pull towards unilingual identity, inspired by the European model of nation state that is predicated on the homogeneity of its people. Language hegemony works at two tiers in India—at the state and the centre. The Constitution fails to pay more than lip service to the linguistic plurality and multilingual ethos of the peoples of India and has created a chaturvarna (four-tier order) of languages, with Sanskrit, Hindi, the scheduled, and the non-scheduled languages occupying various rungs of the ladder. English—the language of the conquerors—being outside the chaturvarna system has emancipatory potential.

Gender Agenda

In grammatical terms there is no gender system in English, as with many other languages like Bangla, Turkish, Korean and Thai--but unlike Hindi, which boasts grammatical gender in all its glory.

Dreaming in English

With the resurgence of nationalism in this age of aggressive globalisation, the call to dream in English is often a demand for conformity with what are declared to be national mainstreams. The demand for unilingualism and conformity is complicated by the idea of dreaming in English as articulated by colonised and subordinated groups in other contexts. What should give us pause, however, is any easy equation of the English language, or Western democracy, with fixed notions of science, rationality, progress and modernity. How might we think through these conundrums and challenges?

The Road to English

Students of English from the economically weaker sections in private schools in Delhi now go through an extended phase of muteness and incomprehensibility before they finally pick up the language, almost by osmosis. The US education system, which promotes bilingualism as opposed to diglossia here, has some lessons for India if the attempt is to make English learning more easy, enjoyable, and useful.

Of Moons and Mirrors

From Urdu to Hindi and then English, Kai Chand the Sar-e Asman sets out on a creative journey.

Caste in a Casteless Language?

This paper focuses on a new archive of dalit writing in English translation. The "archive" has a forced homogeneity imposed by the term "dalit", which embraces an urban middle-class dalit and a member of a scavenger caste; the homogeneity is consolidated by the fact that the translated texts are in an international language. The questions asked concern the relationship between caste and the English language, two phenomena that represent considerably antithetical signs. Dalit writers accept English as a target language, despite the fact that local realities and registers of caste are difficult to couch in a language that has no memory of caste. The discussion shows how English promises to dalit writers (as both individuals and representatives of communities) agency, articulation, recognition and justice. The paper draws attention to the multiplicity of contexts that make writing by dalits part of a literary public sphere in India, and contribute to our thinking about caste issues in the context of human rights.

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