English immersion and Bangla floatation? Rendering a collective choice private

Majumdar, Manabi and Mukhopadhyay, Rahul (2018) English immersion and Bangla floatation? Rendering a collective choice private. De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 79-102.

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This article aims to revisit the importance of nurturing reciprocal relationships of equality and enrichment between Bangla and English in the school life of children residing in the Indian state of West Bengal. We couple the descriptor “immersion” with English and “floatation” with Bangla to serve as metaphors for language ideology. After a brief review of the language in education policy in the country and in Bengal in both colonial and post-Independence periods, we draw on conversations with schoolteachers about the preference for English and the relative disregard for Bangla to present three basic arguments. First, there is no reason to be forced to choose between English and Bangla in Bengali education. There is even less reason – indeed, there are greater costs – to follow the policy of immersion in English and mere floatation in Bangla. Second, the equity-enhancing potential of “empowering people with English” may get neutralized if a disproportionate burden falls on the poor of purchasing minimal proficiency in English in schools providing “have-little” English. Third, unless English language training happens in the company of Bangla, children in schools of Bengal will lose a great opportunity to cultivate their freedom of self-expression.

Item Type: Article
Authors: Majumdar, Manabi and Mukhopadhyay, Rahul
Document Language:
Uncontrolled Keywords: language of education, bilingual education, language policy, social equalization
Subjects: Social sciences > Education
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Education
Full Text Status: Restricted
URI: http://publications.azimpremjiuniversity.edu.in/id/eprint/4405
Publisher URL:

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