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The Teaching of English in India by Amarnath Jha

by Litinbox

‘The Teaching of English in India’ is an essay on how English is taught and should be taught in India in various levels of education, its difficulties and so on.  It is an essay by Dr Amarnath Jha, once the Vice Chancellor of Allahabad University and Banaras Hindu University.

Reputed for his services to teachers and the most comprehensive teaching, Dr Amarnath Jha was one among the first recipients of Padma Bhushan.

English is a second language to a country like India, where teaching the language has certain difficulties. For a comprehensive teaching, the interaction between students and teachers is necessary. Language should not be a barrier for an effective and comprehensive teaching. Dr Amarnath Jha discusses here, the various difficulties of teaching the English language in India.

The Teaching of English in India Summary

According to Amarnath Jha, the students must ensure if the teachers are competent enough and all is well with the subject. They must also ensure whether it is necessary to keep with the medium of instruction. To discuss his views, Amarnath has divided teaching of English into three stages.

  1. Primary Stage
  2. High School Stage and
  3. University Stage

Primary Stage

To teach the primary stage students, the least qualified with a least amount of teaching skills or even freshers are employed. Such teachers use this place as a platform to experiment their teaching skills and the children become victims for their experiments. On the other side, an old teacher on the verge of superannuation is in charge of lower classes. An unbaked, unsatisfactory and experimental teaching becomes a spoiler in lower stages.

Primary stage is of utmost importance, since it opens the eyes of children. Properly trained faculty members should be employed to teach at lower levels. They should be well trained in language particularly in terms of pronunciation, grammar etc. The policy of education has to ensure the proper system of training for teachers.

Amarnath says that an Indian student comes to school amidst many difficulties; Poor economic factors, malnourishment, unsuitable school hours and so on. These may lead him incompatible or inattentive in the class. The most important problem is the linguistic bondage. The teachers also must familiarise themselves with the technical terms of the language.

High School Stage

At this level, a student is able to think of his own. Here teaching should be literature, vivid, warm and living. Proper guidance has to be given to students on what books should be selected for reading etc., They need not be frightened or alarmed. Instead the teachers must let them to choose the best models and live in their company.

University Stage

The students at this level may face a glitch. The teacher should educate to develop his tastes and correct them. The students must be familiar with the best kind of books. In order to create interest in students, the teacher must select best passages to read and teach.

The Teaching of English in India and its History

Unfortunately, the English language dominates all regional languages in India today. Similarly, people think it a pride to speak English. The English language has been taught in India in all levels of education and used in all fields. This language came to exist in India primarily for one reason:

Macaulay is considered to be the father of modern education of India. He is one of the main reasons for English entering into Indian education. He wished to spread teaching of English in India just to prepare a group of Indians as interpreters between the British rulers and the Indian folk. At the beginning, it was English language teaching. But, now it has become English medium instruction.

The declaration of Wood’s Dispatch of 1854 laid foundation for the teaching of English in India in a systematic way. This declaration is known as the ‘Magna Carta’ of Indian education. Raja Ram Mohan Roy also thought the English education was superior. He wished English medium teaching in various disciplines like academic, scientific and so on.