Role of Mother Tongue in Primary Schooling of Young Learners in Punjab

Muhammad Imran Shah


This paper focuses on one of the most fundamental issues in Education i.e. the choice of medium of instruction at primary level. In Pakistan, there is a multilingual system of education, besides mother tongue or regional language, Urdu is national language where as English is taught as compulsory subject up to graduate level. The medium of instruction in most of the early schooling is in regional language according to the demand of young learners. Now, Government of Punjab has made it compulsory that primary education should be given in English. In this paper it has been provided research based data to the policy makers and involved parties to make informed decisions. It has been hypothesized that all the stakeholders including the learners, teachers and parents are not satisfied with this decision and this ‘unsatisfied’ state has some pedagogical grounds. These pedagogical grounds needed to be explored and highlighted. In this context, the researcher has studied various theories related to the medium of instruction as well as the researches on this topic. It is basically a qualitative research; the researcher has applied methods of survey research to achieve the objectives of the research. The researcher has collected data from the young learners, their teachers and parents of the selected schools in under privileged areas like that of district Bukkar and Kasur to check their level of comfort with mother tongue, national language and foreign language (English) as the medium of instruction. The study has also checked their level of comprehension of different subjects in these media of instructions i-e mother tongue, National language and English.
Finally, it has been concluded on the basis of analyzed data that the young learners are dissatisfied with foreign language (English) as a medium of instruction in their classes. They have to exert much while decoding the contents of foreign language, therefore, they prefer to be taught in their regional language or mother tongue for better comprehension. They are mostly entangled in the web of the language problems. English as medium of instruction has become an extra burden for the young learners. This practice has also lead to dissatisfaction on the part of the learners. This study shows that if decisions are made without doing proper research and needs analysis can prove disastrous.

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