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China and India - English Learning Trends

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:12 pm    Post subject: China and India - English Learning Trends Reply with quote

Many people compare China and India together. One of the advantages that India has over China is the language advantage - Many Indians speak English. While many Chinese are studying hard, trying to break the language barrier, the following article would make people think about the trends... of learning English in India

Language in India

Nov 9th 2006 | DELHI
From The Economist print edition
The politics of English in India's IT capital

JOBS outsourced from America or Europe to India can no longer be said to have been Bangalored. The capital of the state of Karnataka, home to Wipro and Infosys among others, has changed its name to Bengalooru, following the lead set by Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata (Calcutta) and Chennai (Madras). The city's sign-makers and cartographers are delighted; its software firms, who detect another unhelpful move from an intermittently hostile government, less so.

Across India, adopting the pronunciation of a local language is a quick way to soothe those who worry that the English language is colonising the country more thoroughly than the British ever did. But the change of name comes at a sensitive time in Karnataka, where the government recently went a step further and threatened with closure more than 2,000 private schools that taught in English, not Kannada, the local language.

Basavaraj Horatti, the education minister who implemented the decree, insists that he is not anti-English, but was merely enforcing a ruling from Karnataka's supreme court that all new private schools must teach in Kannada. The court's decision came after a dogged campaign led by fans of the late Rajkumar, a Kannada-language film star. “Dr Raj's” star appeal was such that his death this April led to riots in Bangalore.

To prove his pro-English credentials, the minister says that from this academic year Karnataka's 24,000 state schools will begin teaching English as a foreign language to children from the age of five. That will provide little comfort to the private schools affected, nor to Karnataka's other schoolchildren. The reason private schools have multiplied so fast is that the state-run ones are rotten. And unfortunately the supply of English teachers is limited, so finding enough good ones will take time.

Underlying all this is the fear that children whose parents can afford to send them to private schools will learn English, work with computers and prosper, while the rest will get left behind. U.R. Ananthamurthy, a novelist who writes in Kannada, says teaching in English has become a curse, since “people get paid more to become cyber-coolies in call centres than if they get degrees or train as nurses.” As for the coolies and their cyber-employers, both would like more lessons in English.
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