Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Indian International Schools and The English Language

In an article about Indian international schools, The Guardian newspaper explores the decision of many East Asain parents to send their kids to India to learn English.  The big question is why Korean and other East Asian parents send their children to India and not to countries where English is the majority language such as the UK, the US, Canada or Australia.  Apparently, 'teachers, students and administrators list three main reasons: Indian schools are cheaper than, say, in UK or Australia; many schools in English-speaking countries don't offer ESL; and even though India can be a difficult place to live in, it is seen as an emerging economic powerhouse. Yet almost all students also see India as just a stepping stone for higher education and jobs in English-speaking countries, especially in the US'.  Opportunities for speaking English outside of the classroom and indeed outside of the school are also reasons cited.  The general lack of English conversations in countries such as Korea and Japan is certainly a hindrance to anyone wishing to practice the English language skills outside of the classroom. Although not everyone in India is a native speaker of the English language, far more opportunities exist for its use, partly because English is a medium of communication between native speakers of different languages within India, and partly because of historical factors.  As Peri Bhaskararao summarizes in an article entitled English in Contemporary India, 'English language in its different variegations continues to thrive in India.  It is a major medium of communication in technical and scientific education, governance, personal interaction among the educated, public information, broadcasting, news media etc. Education in the medium of English language is still valued. It is the main language used in the field of computing and internet-related enterprise. It is an essential tool of interaction between a foreigner and an Indian. India has been hospitable to English and each benefits from the other.'  So, is it surprising that East Asian parents who wish a bright future for their children are sending them to India to be educated?

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