Cambridge Assessment International Education

Language debate redux

EducationWorld November 2020 | Postscript

Compelling evidence that the great majority of the country’s youth prefer English — or more properly Inglish — as the national language is provided by the 1.6 million higher secondary school-leavers who wrote NEET (National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test), which determines admissions in order of merit into the country’s much-too-few (542) government and private medical colleges, on September 13. Although candidates have the option to write NEET in several vernacular languages, 79 percent opted to write the test in English. Reportedly for the simple reason that vernacular language zealots have never bothered about translating English language textbooks, especially science and technology texts into native languages they champion on public platforms. Yet despite the overwhelming preference for learning Inglish, the language of business and upper judiciary, National Education Policy 2020 makes an oblique reference to English/Inglish as a foreign language.

But then what else can be expected from Union education minister Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal who writes hyper-nationalist pulp fiction in Hindi under the non-de-plume Nishank? This worthy cannot speak a word of English — which means 59 percent of the population can’t understand any of his pearls of wisdom. However, the good news is that Pokhriyal who has a penchant for endless ‘consultations’ and marked reluctance to grant media interviews has made the Great Leader see the error of his ways and has reportedly given this less than mediocre minister his marching orders. It’s a consummation devoutly to be wished.

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