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Medium of Instruction

  • Date Submitted: 10/22/2012 04:18 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 33 
  • Words: 981
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1. A QUESTION we are still grappling with in Pakistan after 65 years is, what should be the language of instruction in our schools. Given all the scientific research that has gone into the language and literacy issues worldwide — but surprisingly not enough in Pakistan — one would have thought we would have found the answer by now. Unfortunately, we haven’t. This language paradox has undermined our education standards. With no well-defined language as a medium of instruction policy, we have a fractured system that divides society.  
2. Pakistan Government has been unable to come up with a uniform medium of instruction to be used in our educational institutions. A glance at our national educational history reveals a disturbing trend towards our attitude to the language to be used in our educational institutions. Ever since independence, barring few English medium schools [which were mostly run by Christian missionaries then], the mainstream educational establishments continued mother tongue as the primary medium of instruction. This system seemed to have worked well till late 1960’s. However in the seventies of the past century our educational wizards came up with the novel idea of unilingual [Urdu] concept of instructing the Pakistani kids in their elementary schools. With introduction of a unilingual concept the students were now being instructed right from the kindergarten to secondary classes in Urdu [especially in Punjab]. While making this decision they totally ignored the fact that Urdu had never been the mother tongue of more than 6-7 percent Pakistanis. A great majority of Pakistani school kids used their respective mother tongues as medium of general discourse in their mohallas, in streets especially amongst their buddies. Naturally conflicts arose in the tender minds of young Pakistanis, who adopted a speech pattern which is neither standard Urdu nor compatible with the...


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