England was made the medium of official communication and instruction in India after the clout of the East India Company expanded across the nation in 1757.
The system was aberrant, but we cannot deny the fact that it did ample good. It introduced the fundamental influence of a lively and expanding culture in our country. It brought the people into intimate contact with the great gifts of Western Civilization.
However, at the same time, the endeavor to study a foreign language also imposed a profound burden on the people.
They had to contemplate in their mother tongue and then write in English. It was a relentless and rigorous strain which adversely affected the intellectual development of our country. Innovation was stifled under the force of the new system.
The prominence on English has also been a handicap on the educational institutions from primary level to universities. Educationists and teachers who are competent of teaching English with the facility of vernacular languages are always rare. Moreover, there is also the need to find more space to teach English in the time-table of vernacular-medium schools. Sometimes other imperative subjects are neglected at the expense of English.
But in the twenty-first century, which happens to be the age of digitalization we cannot demand to banish English from our curricula. Students from states such as West Bengal, Bihar, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh have adversely suffered for decades following the abolition of English at primary level.
English is necessary for two key reasons. Firstly it is the global medium of communication, the lingua franca of the world. It also makes various concepts, theories, and jargons more accessible to us. It will take big time for books on science, computers, and mathematics to be written in Indian languages. Therefore, it is necessary to know English for studying other subjects as well. Secondly, it is necessary to know English for writing official letters and to carry out business deals with the global community.
Obviously, our proficiency in reading and comprehending English books can be best assessed through vernacular languages. It is ridiculous to demand that a high-school student of a vernacular medium school should underscore the beauties of an English poetry in English.
Instead, it would be proper if the students of vernacular-medium schools are asked to demonstrate their comprehension and appreciation of literary works in English in their own language. It would be more rational and pleasant.
To sum up, English should not be given undue importance India and be made the only mode of appearing in entrance tests for medical, engineering and business administration schools and public service examinations. Neither should it be completely eliminated from our educational system and official work.
It should be strictly subservient to our bona fide needs. It is not necessary to know the language as proficiently as an Englishman, nor there do any merit of ignoring it altogether.
It is also unwise to impose more than one foreign language on students. If English is preferred over French, German or any other language it is because we have better facilities for teaching it compared to its peers and also because it is the language spoken and understood by the largest number of people across the globe.