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August 27, 2019

Language and opportunity

Newspost

 
August 27, 2019

This refers to the article ‘Language of opportunity’ (Aug 24) by Iftekhar A Khan. In this piece, the writer very rationally disagrees with some of our academics, who espouse that primary education should be imparted only in one’s mother tongue. Sometimes this experimentation can go up to higher levels of education also, with disastrous results. The writer very correctly points out that many PhD and MPhil students from our university find it very difficult to pass the basic international English Language testing system (IELTS). It has been noted that students from countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India tend to do much better than our students in the same test. The writer asserts, and I fully agree with him, that English has become a language of opportunity, and we should promote it rather than doing away with it at the primary level.

The author concludes that a specious argument is forwarded by giving the example of Germany and Japan where basic teaching is done in their mother language. It is conveniently forgotten that research in most disciplines including science and technology emanates from those countries. The article also correctly asserts that English as a compulsory subject must be included in our curriculum from primary school upwards.

Akbar Jan Marwat

Islamabad

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