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[agathiyar] Re: Tamil as medium of instruction

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  • Mani M. Manivannan
    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
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 1, 1999
      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 English.

      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
      already know!

      Mani M. Manivannan
      Newark, CA, USA
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