Advertisement

English Language Teaching in Pakistan: Language Policies, Delusions and Solutions

  • Syed Abdul MananEmail author
  • Maya Khemlani David
  • Francisco Perlas Dumanig
Part of the Language Policy book series (LAPO, volume 11)

Abstract

English is perceived as a passport to better employment and upward social mobility in Pakistan. In a society characterized by acute class division and intense class consciousness, parents from the lower, lower middle or working strata of society aspire to enroll their children in the English-medium schools. Public demand for English medium schooling has led to an exponential growth of low-fee/low-cost schools over the last two decades where “by the end of 2005, one in every three enrolled children at the primary level was studying in a private school” (Coleman, H. (2010). The English language in development (p. 10). London: British Council). Importantly, behind the rapid spread and intense pursuit of English medium schooling is also a belief that the earlier the child is exposed to the English language, the faster she/he will learn the language. Employing a mixed methodology, this study analyzes English-medium policy in 11 low-fee private schools in part of Pakistan. Based on evidence gathered through multiple research tools such as a questionnaire survey, classroom observation and interviews with students, teachers, school principals and experts observers, the study finds that early English-medium policy appears counterproductive as most students demonstrate poor English language proficiency. Factors such as unavailability of qualified English teachers, poor pedagogies, sociocultural dynamics, and overall institutional weaknesses contribute to the failure of the policy. The study concludes that the maximum exposure and greater learning beliefs associated with earlier English teaching are delusional as those beliefs are underpinned neither by theories of bilingual/multilingual education nor by the schools and social environment of the children. We argue that in broader terms, the English-only policy poses potential reductionist effects on existing language ecology, and English-medium private schooling furthers socioeconomic disparities between the haves and the have-nots. Therefore, we propose that the early-English policy may be reviewed, and replaced by mother tongue based multilingual policy. English is an important language; therefore, it may be taught as a language rather than as a medium at the primary level. As quality English-medium schooling stands the preserve of the elites only; therefore, we advocate for the democratization of English and its equitable distribution across all strata of society.

Keywords

Low-fee schools English-medium policy Mother tongue based multilingual education Language policy and planning Pakistan Early English-medium education Additive bi/multilingual education Institutional preparedness Sociolinguistic/ethnolinguistic realities versus English-medium education 

References

  1. Abbas, S. (1993). The power of English in Pakistan. World Englishes, 12(2), 147–156. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-971X.1993.tb00017.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alidou, H., Boly, A., Brock-Utne, B., Diallo, Y. S., Heugh, K., & Wolff, H. E. (2006). Optimizing learning and education in Africa-the language factor. A stock-taking research on mother tongue and bilingual education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Paris: Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).Google Scholar
  3. Alidou, H., & Brock-Utne, B. (2006). In H. Alidou, A. Boly, B. Brock-Utne, Y. S. Diallo, K. Heugh, & H. E. Wolff (Eds.), Experience I – Teaching practices – Teaching in a familiar language (pp. 85–100). Libreville, Gabon: Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), UNESCO Institute for Education.Google Scholar
  4. Andrabi, T., Das, J., & Khwaja, A. I. (2008). A dime a day: The possibilities and limits of private schooling in Pakistan. Comparative Education Review, 52(3), 329–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Annamalai, E. (2005). Nation-building in a globalised world: Language choice and education in India. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  6. ASER. (2012). Annual status of education report (ASER). Islamabad, Pakistan: ASER Pakistan.Google Scholar
  7. Ayres, A. (2003). The politics of language policy in Pakistan. In M. E. Brown & Š. Ganguly (Eds.), Fighting words: Language policy and ethnic relations in Asia (pp. 51–80). Cambridge, MA: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.Google Scholar
  8. Benson, C. J. (2000). The primary bilingual education experiment in Mozambique, 1993 to 1997. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 3(3), 149–166. doi: 10.1080/13670050008667704.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Benson, C. J. (2002). Real and potential benefits of bilingual programmes in developing countries. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 5(6), 303–317. doi: 10.1080/13670050208667764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Benson, C. J. (2009). Designing effective schooling in multilingual contexts: Going beyond bilingual models. In T. Skutnabb-Kangas, R. Phillipson, A. K. Mohanty, & M. Panda (Eds.), Social justice through multilingual education (pp. 63–84). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  11. Brock-Utne, B. (2007). Learning through a familiar language versus learning through a foreign language – A look into some secondary school classrooms in Tanzania. International Journal of Educational Development, 27(5), 487–498. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2006.10.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Canagarajah, S., & Ashraf, H. (2013). Multilingualism and education in South Asia: Resolving policy/practice dilemmas. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 33, 258–285. doi: 10.1017/S0267190513000068.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cenoz, J. (2003). The influence of age on the acquisition of English: General proficiency, attitudes and code mixing. In M. P. G. Mayo & M. L. G. Lecumberri (Eds.), Age and the acquisition of English as a foreign language: Theoretical issues and fieldwork (pp. 77–93). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  14. Cenoz, J. (2009). Towards multilingual education: Basque educational research from an international perspective. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  15. Coleman, H. (2010). Teaching and learning in Pakistan: The role of language in education. Islamabad, Pakistan: The British Council.Google Scholar
  16. Coleman, H. (2011). Dreams and realities: Developing countries and the English language. London: British Council.Google Scholar
  17. Coleman, H., & Capstick, T. (2012). Language in education in Pakistan: Recommendations for policy and practice. Islamabad, Pakistan: British Council.Google Scholar
  18. Cummins, J. (1984). Bilingualism and special education: Issues in assessment and pedagogy. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters Ltd.Google Scholar
  19. Cummins, J. (2009). Fundamental psycholinguistic and sociological principles underlying educational success for linguistic minority students. In T. Skutnabb-Kangas, R. Phillipson, A. K. Mohanty, & M. Panda (Eds.), Social justice through multilingual education (pp. 19–35). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  20. Curle, A. (1966). Planning for education in Pakistan: A personal case study. London: Tavistock Publications.Google Scholar
  21. Ethnologue. (2015). Languages of the world. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from https://www.ethnologue.com/statistics/country
  22. Fafunwa, B., Macauley, J. I., & Sokoya, J. (1989). Education in the mother tongue: The primary education research project (1970–78). Ibadan, Nigeria: University Press Limited.Google Scholar
  23. Fairclough, N. (1992). Critical language awareness. London/New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  24. Ferguson, G. (2013). The language of instruction issue: Reality, aspiration and the wider context. In H. McIlwraith (Ed.), Multilingual education in Africa: Lessons from the Juba language-in-education conference (pp. 17–22). London: British Council.Google Scholar
  25. Foucault, M., & Sheridan, A. (1979). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin.Google Scholar
  26. García Mayo, M. d. P., & Garcia Lecumberri, M. L. (2003). Age and the acquisition of English as a foreign language. Clevedon, UK/Toronto: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  27. García, O., Skutnabb-Kangas, T., & Torres-Guzman, M. E. (2006). Imagining multilingual schools: Languages in education and glocalization. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  28. GOP. (2009a). National education policy. Islamabad, Pakistan: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  29. GOP. (2009b). Pakistan education statistics 2007–08. Islamabad, Pakistan.Google Scholar
  30. Gramsci, A. (1988). A Gramsci reader: Selected writings 1916–1935. London: Lawrence and Wishart.Google Scholar
  31. Hardman, F., Abd-Kadir, J., & Smith, F. (2008). Pedagogical renewal: Improving the quality of classroom interaction in Nigerian primary schools. International Journal of Educational Development, 28(1), 55–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Heugh, K. (2006). Theory and practice language education models in Africa: Research, design, decision-making, and outcomes’. In H. Alidou, A. Boly, B. Brock-Utne, Y. S. Diallo, K. Heugh, & H. E. Wolff (Eds.), Optimizing learning and education in Africa the language factor: A stock-taking research on mother tongue and bilingual education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Paris: Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).Google Scholar
  33. Heugh, K. (2009). Literacy and bi/multilingual education in Africa: Recovering collective memory and expertise. In T. Skutnabb-Kangas, R. Phillipson, A. K. Mohanty, & M. Panda (Eds.), Social justice through multilingual education (pp. 85–102). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  34. Heyneman, S. P., & Stern, J. M. B. (2013). Low cost private schools for the poor: What public policy is appropriate? International Journal of Educational Development, 35, 3–15. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2013.01.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hornberger, N. H. (2003). Continua of biliteracy: An ecological framework for educational policy, research, and practice in multilingual settings. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  36. Jhingran, D. (2005). Language disadvantage: The learning challenge in primary education. Delhi, India: APH Publishers.Google Scholar
  37. Khattak, S. G. (2014). A comparative analysis of the elite-English-medium schools, state Urdu-medium schools, and Dini-madaris in Pakistan. International Journal of Multidisciplinary Comparative Studies, 1(1), 92–107.Google Scholar
  38. Kirkpatrick, A. (2012). English as an international language in Asia: Implications for language education. In A. Kirkpatrick & R. Sussex (Eds.), English as an international language in Asia (pp. 29–44). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lewis, D. (1962). The British in India: Imperialism or trusteeship? Great Britain: Heath.Google Scholar
  40. Manan, S. A., & David, M. K. (2013). Mapping ecology of literacies in educational setting: The case of local mother tongues vis-à-vis Urdu and English languages in Pakistan. Language and Education, 28(3), 203–222. doi: 10.1080/09500782.2013.800550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Manan, S. A., David, M. K., & Dumanig, F. P. (2014). Language management: A snapshot of governmentality within the private schools in Quetta, Pakistan. Language Policy, (Online first), 1–24. doi: 10.1007/s10993-014-9343-x.
  42. Manan, S. A., David, M. K., & Dumanig, F. P. (2015). Disjunction between language policy and children’s sociocultural ecology – An analysis of English-medium education policy in Pakistan. Language and Education, 1–21. doi: 10.1080/09500782.2015.1046882.
  43. Mansoor, S. (2004). The medium of instruction dilemma: Implications for language planning in higher education. In S. Mansoor, S. Meraj, & A. Tahir (Eds.), Language policy, planning, & practice: A South Asian perspective. Karachi, Pakistan: Agha Khan University.Google Scholar
  44. Mansoor, S. (2005). Language planning in higher education: A case study of Pakistan. Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. May, S. (2008). In M. Stephen & N. H. Hornberger (Eds.), Language policy and political issues in education (2nd ed., Vol. 1). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  46. McCarty, T. L. (2009). Empowering Indigenous Languages: What can be learned from Native American experiences? In T. Skutnabb-Kangas, R. Phillipson, A. K. Mohanty, & M. Panda (Eds.), Linguistic diversity and language rights: Social justice through multilingual education (pp. 125–139). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  47. Mohanty, A. K. (2010). Languages, inequality and marginalization: Implications of the double divide in Indian multilingualism. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 205, 131–154. doi: 10.1515/ijsl.2010.042.Google Scholar
  48. Mohanty, A. K. (2013). Grounding ELT in a multilingual education (MLE) framework. Paper presented at the Teacher Educator Conference English and Foreign Languages, The University (EFL-U) Hyderabad, India.Google Scholar
  49. Mohanty, A. K., & Panda, M. (2009). Language matters, so does culture: Beyond the rhetoric of culture in multilingual education. In T. Skutnabb-Kangas, R. Phillipson, A. K. Mohanty, & M. Panda (Eds.), Social justice through multilingual education (pp. 301–319). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  50. Mustafa, Z. (2011). Tyranny of language in education, the problems and its solutions. Karachi, Pakistan: Ushba Publishing International.Google Scholar
  51. Mustafa, Z. (2012, 10 January). Pakistan ruined by language myth, The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/jan/10/pakistan-language-crisis
  52. Phillipson, R. (2009). The tension between linguistic diversity and dominant English. In T. Skutnabb-Kangas, R. Phillipson, A. K. Mohanty, & M. Panda (Eds.), Social justice through multilingual education (pp. 85–102). Toronto, ON: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  53. Pennycook, A. (2001). Critical applied linguistics : a critical introduction. Mahwah, N.J. ; London: L. Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  54. Pinnock, H. (2009). Language and education: The missing link, how the language used in schools threatens the achievement of Education For All. London: Save the Children.Google Scholar
  55. Prophet, B., & Dow, P. (1994). Mother tongue language and concept development in science: A Botswana case study. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 7(3), 205–216. doi: 10.1080/07908319409525178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rahman, T. (1996). Language and politics in Pakistan. Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Rahman, T. (1997). The medium of instruction controversy in Pakistan. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 18(2), 145–154. doi: 10.1080/01434639708666310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rahman, T. (2001). English-teaching institutions in Pakistan. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 22(3), 242–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rahman, T. (2002). Language, ideology and power: Language learning among the Muslims of Pakistan and North India. Karachi, Pakistan/Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Rahman, T. (2004a). Denizens of alien worlds: A study of education, inequality and polarization in Pakistan. Karachi, Pakistan/Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Rahman, T. (2004b). Language policy and localization in Pakistan: Proposal for a paradigmatic shift. Paper presented at the SCALLA Conference on Computational Linguistics, Kathmandu, NepalGoogle Scholar
  62. Rahman, T. (2004c). Language and education: Selected documents, 1780–2003. Islamabad, Pakistan: National Institute of Pakistan Studies Quaid-i-Azam University.Google Scholar
  63. Rahman, T. (2004d). Denizens of alien worlds: A study of education, inequality and polarization in Pakistan. Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Raleigh, T. (1906). Lord Curzon in India: Being a selection from his speeches as Viceroy and Governor General 1898–1905. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  65. Rassool, N., & Mansoor, S. (2007). Contemporary issues in language, education and development in Pakistan. In N. Rassool (Ed.), Global issues in language, education and development: Perspectives from postcolonial countries (pp. 218–244). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  66. Shamim, F. (2008). Trends, issues and challenges in English language education in Pakistan. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 28(3), 235–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Shamim, F. (2012). English as the language for development in Pakistan: Issues, challenges and possible solutions. In H. Coleman (Ed.), Language and development: Africa and beyond (pp. 97–118). Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The British Council.Google Scholar
  68. Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2002). Marvelous human rights rhetoric and grim realities: Language rights in education. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 1(3), 179–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2009). Social justice through multilingual education. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  70. Skutnabb-Kangas, T., & Dunbar, R. (2010). Indigenous children’s education as linguistic genocide and a crime against humanity?: A global view. Kautokeino, Norway: Galdu – Resource Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.Google Scholar
  71. Skutnabb-Kangas, T., & McCarty, T. L. (2008). Key concepts in bilingual education: Ideological, historical, epistemological, and empirical foundations. In N. H. Hornberger (Ed.), Encyclopedia of language and education (Vol. 5, pp. 3–18). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  72. Skutnabb-Kangas, T., Phillipson, R., Panda, M., & Mohanty, A. K. (2009). Multilingual education concepts, goals, needs and expense: English for all or achieving justice? In T. Skutnabb-Kangas, R. Phillipson, M. Panda, & A. K. Mohanty (Eds.), Social justice through multilingual education (pp. 320–345). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  73. Skutnabb-Kangas, T., & Toukomaa, P. (1976). Teaching migrant children’s mother tongue and learning the language of the host country in the context of the sociocultural situation of the migrant family. Helsinki, Finland: Tampere.Google Scholar
  74. Tambulukani, G., & Bus, A. G. (2012). Linguistic diversity: A contributory factor to reading problems in Zambian schools. Applied Linguistics, 33(2), 141–160. doi: 10.1093/applin/amr039.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Tsui, A., & Tollefson, J. W. (2004). The centrality of medium-of-instruction policy in sociopolitical processes. In A. B. M. Tsui & J. W. Tollefson (Eds.), Medium of instruction policies: Which agenda? Whose agenda? (pp. 1–20). Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  76. UNESCO. (2003). Education in a multilingual world: UNESCO education position paper. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  77. Willaims, E. (1996). Reading in two languages at year five in African primary schools. Applied Linguistics, 17(2), 182–209. doi: 10.1093/applin/17.2.182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Syed Abdul Manan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Maya Khemlani David
    • 2
  • Francisco Perlas Dumanig
    • 2
  1. 1.Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering & Management Sciences (BUITEMS)QuettaPakistan
  2. 2.University of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

Personalised recommendations