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English posing a threat to local languages‚ say experts

  

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

LALITPUR: Educationists have expressed worry that increasing use of English as the medium of instruction at school has posed a threat to local languages, including Nepali, and government schools that use these languages as their medium of instruction.

At the third district conference of Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association, Associate Professor of the Tribhuvan University, Meera Shrestha, criticised the trend of sending children to English medium schools at the cost of mother tongue.

Asked about provisions governing the selection of medium of instruction, Kathmandu District Education Officer, Baikuntha Aryal, said the government policy allows schools to choose either Nepali or English as the medium of instruction.

“The policy does not bar the selection of English as the medium of instruction, though it also calls for imparting primary education in children’s mother tongue launguage,” added Aryal.

Pointing at the rising trend of using English as the medium of instruction, teacher at Lalitpur-based Mahendra Adarsha Higher Secondary School (MAHSS), Om Prakash Baiba, said his school had to switch to English due to stiff competition.

Six other community schools in Lalitpur have

followed suit.

Out of a total of 286 schools in the Kathmandu Valley, a majority have already switched to English medium, according to DEO Aryal. “However, many schools have to hire teachers on their own as the government-paid teachers cannot teach in English,” added Aryal.

Education experts pointed that students taught in English are losing command of the Nepali language and do not know much about the country’s sociocultural aspects. Associate Professor of the Kathmandu University, Laxman Gnawali, suggested choosing English as the medium of instruction for Maths, Computer and Science and Nepali for subjects like Social Studies, Culture and History.

At the programme, Gnawali cited a parent, who wanted to enrol his children at an English medium school because he didn’t want them to go abroad in search of odd jobs.

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