[agathiyar] Re: Tamil as medium of instruction
- I don't have much more to add to Venkat's eloquent response.
As he pointed out correctly many of us in this forum and those
that managed to reach the dream shores of North America,
were indeed educated in our mother tongue.
When I first came to this country, I was surrounded by Chinese
students who could barely speak in English. They always carried
their Chinese-English dictionaries to every class. Apparently,
they had less then 6 months of training in English. The Indian
students thought "Ha, this is going to be cakewalk." We watched
a lot of TV, absorbed Americana, and explored the party scene
on the college campuses. When the first mid-term results came
we had a rude awakening. Everyone of the dictionary toting
Chinese student creamed us. So much for the English advantage.
Today I work with a young vietnamese engineer. He came to
America as a boat-person. He learned English in the refugee
camps of the Philippines at the age of 18. When he finally
landed here, he had to take high school courses in English.
He aced them and eventually graduated at the top of the class
in University of California at Berkeley. This is not an isolated
case. I have worked with other Vietnamese and Cambodian
refugee turned engineers.
That is why I don't see any advantage in English medium schools
in India. Yes, they do need excellent English language teachers
and a good curriculum that teaches writing skills - in both Tamil
And believe it or not, it was not long ago when English was considered
inferior to Latin in England! Sir Issac Newton published his findings
in Latin not English. But only when England switched to English
based education they were able to tap into the creative ideas of
average English citizenry. Then they went on to rule the world.
When I left India, there weren't this many opportunities. I probably
would have never left India if I had the opportunities that exist
today. Would I send my children to Tamil medium schools had
I lived in Tamil Nadu? Without any hesitation!
I believe that someday Tamil Nadu and India will emerge as
powerful, wealthy, independent nations on par with any other
power in the world. When they do, I would like to see them
contribute to the world's knowledge tapping the potential of
everyone of their citizens. I believe that they can achieve that
only if they educate everybody using the language that they
Mani M. Manivannan
Newark, CA, USA