Maths and Science in English- A boon or a Bane!

For the first time, any government in Assam is willing to adopt the hybrid model of teaching instead of opting with the vernacular language as usual
Maths and Science in English- A boon or a Bane!
Maths and Science in English- A boon or a Bane!

Joydeep Narayan Deb

The current BJP-led government announced to teach Maths and Science in English language in the government schools from class three. For the first time, any government in Assam is willing to adopt the hybrid model of teaching instead of opting with the vernacular language as usual.

The decision made in the cabinet sparks controversy over two groups of intellectuals which took place on all the media platforms. While one of the groups welcomed the progressive decision by explaining that since, learning Mathematics and Science in the vernacular language has been a hurdle for the regional students when they go for higher studies in the science stream. The lack of journals and scholarly papers in the regional language creates a gap between the students from the vernacular language and the students learning in the English language.

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However, the other group of intellectuals expressed their fear for the extinction of the Assamese language in government’s watch, saying “the process of slow poisoning the language has started long back; it’s just another nail in the coffin”

The whole scenario raised so many questions that we need to ask ourselves as the audience, as a student, as a teacher and as a native speaker too.

The academic scenario of Assam has been unstable for ages; there has been a cold war going on between the linguistic background of the teaching method or the clash between government and private schools which results in so many drawbacks for the students.

It is necessary to inform that, many of the terms in Science especially in Medical Science were derived from the Latin language, which doesn’t have a proper translated term in several regional languages including Assamese. Making it available in the textbook and regularizing it on day to day usages are two different things. While the globalization of the English language makes it easier for students to understand a subject better, regularizing it from class three is highly appreciable to let the kids become comfortable around the subjects in the respective language.

On the other hand, the main issue that arises is the extinction of our own regional or vernacular language Assamese. According to the intellectuals, the government has been taking steps to make Assamese an elective language for a long time.

However, what we need to keep in mind is that many of the prominent writers in Assamese language are well versed in English or pursued a professional career in the English language such as Professors or Editors in major newspapers or magazines.

The hegemonic urge to place a regional language as a one region, one language scenario usually oppresses all the other sub-regional languages in their own land. On the other hand a sub-regional language fails to connect a diverse audience even before getting a proper government affiliation. This brings to another issue of conservative defensive form of the tribe for people from the outer region which is unfortunately very distinct in North Eastern states. Again this draws us to another topic of vernacular politics in Assam which has been a major setback for the state.

So, the fear of extinction of the language doesn’t start with the announcement of regularizing the English language in government schools. But it starts with the negligence of the local citizens regarding the vernacular language. It starts with replacing certain regional words in our daily life. It starts with the shame of using our mother tongue in public places. It starts with neglecting and distorting our culture.

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