Why I Chose My Mother Tongue Over English

Most parents tend to opt for English medium schools for their children. But, is it always the best choice? Read why this English professor chose a vernacular medium for her children.

By Dr Trupti Vora

Why I Chose My Mother Tongue Over English
Developing a love for the mother tongue from an early age is beneficial to the child

I grew up studying in a school where the medium of instruction was English. As a result, I developed a deep love for English language and literature. And, when it was time to choose a career, I opted to become a teacher of English. With time, I went on to become an Assistant Professor of English.

A few years later, it was time to enrol my daughters in school. At that time, I thought of my nephew and niece who were studying in a vernacular medium school and were quite happy about it. Their enthusiasm gave me the desire to enrol my children too in a vernacular medium school.

But, there was a problem. Having been educated in English, how could I involve myself in my children's education if I enrolled them in a vernacular medium school. Yet, I decided to go ahead with it and here's why I did so:

Why I chose vernacular medium over English for my children

Comfortable learning environment: My children were growing up in an environment where those around them spoke their mother tongue. As a result, I thought that studying in the vernacular medium would make schooling a little easier. And, I was proved right as my children were able to understand the concepts of maths and science more easily. Also, it was easier for my children to memorise their lessons when they were taught in their mother tongue.

More freedom: My daughters attended a vernacular school based on Gandhian principles. They wore khadi frocks bought at a discounted rate on Gandhi Jayanti and were free to wear chappals to school. Also, they were not required to wear a tie with their uniform.

Less stress: For both my husband and me, and our children, their educational journey was smooth and stress free. The years rolled by without any trouble. And, even before we knew, my daughters were pursuing their passion for Physics and Environment in the top universities in the USA. Both of them have finished research in their respective fields and earned their post-doctorate degrees. Being a teacher of English, while my children were in school, I introduced them to the translated versions of classics by Shakespeare and Jane Austen along with Jhaverchand Meghani and Narmad (Narmadashankar Lalshankar Dave). So, today, they are equally familiar with the literature of both languages.

Marks depend on hard work and not on the medium of instruction

When appearing in competitive examinations, students from rural areas and vernacular schools are overcome by the fear of the English language. I believe that, to score good marks, a child should work hard and be confident instead of just being fluent in English. Knowledge of English should not, by any means, be a parameter of intelligence.

Whether English or the vernacular, a language is just a medium of instruction and it is beneficial to learn more than one language.

If we don’t encourage our children to learn their mother tongue, we face the risk of losing a language. Over the years, I have realised how important it is to be connected to our roots, whether it’s our mother tongue, motherland or our own mother.

Dr Trupti Vora is a retired English professor from Gujarat.

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