Why Indians Are Obsessed With English For Education, When The Japanese And Koreans Are Not?

English, they say, is a foreign language for the people in India. The national language in the country is Hindi, why then all the fuss about the language? The more pertinent question here is, is English still really a foreign language when the people have spoken this language and adapted to it for generations?

In spite of Hindi being the national language, most of the education in India is conducted in English. It is more of a class determining factor. The knowledge and fluency of English is what sets one apart from the rest in a society. As a matter of fact, we have more English medium schools in India than Hindi or the other solely ‘Indian’ languages. But why English? There are other Asian countries that are perfectly content with their native languages.

One of the reasons that pops out here is the prevalence of English as a worldwide language. English is a comfortable common ground for most countries. If an Indian goes to the States or the United Kingdom, the one thing common will be the knowledge of English. But that only answers the question in half- the obsession for the language.

You consider countries like Japan and Korea. They are not overly stressing on the omnipresence of English. This, I guess, can be contributed to the whole British rule that India was under for 200 long years. As they say, the British, in their long rule over India gave the country its native language.

Japan and Korea have remained fairly independent in respect to them being ruled by the British Islanders. They had the power to themselves and they had the choice of the language to themselves. In India, people needed to communicate with the ‘British Raj’ or the Company. In the quest for communication, the citizens started mastering the language.

In 1947, the British left India. But English didn’t. It stayed with the people, only getting amplified at every generation. While 60 years back, only a handful could speak proper English, in present times, a lion share of the country is fluent with the language. It all started as a necessity to be able to communicate with the British people. Today is has grown into a bigger necessity to be able to communicate with the people of the world.

The language has hugely developed in the different sectors in India, be it across commerce or education. Every parent now wants to get his child enrolled in an English medium school; it is no more a luxury as it was 10 years back. English has again become a necessity and how!

Strangely enough, English is a first language here, as compared to its position as a 2nd language in other Asian countries. The Japanese and the Koreans have been able to uphold the power of their native languages, while India has gradually giving up in the hands of English, all thanks to the British rule.