Like shelving Urdu as a subject

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WHAT THE Indian Hindus had done with Urdu language before the partition of the Sub-Continent is not a surprising tale story, when one cruel and entirely irrational policies of Pakistans Higher Education Commission (HEC) regarding almost burying Urdu, the official language of the country. Most recently the HEC has removed Urdu as subject from the compulsory subjects for science students and added some more subjects of English in the list of compulsory subjects. Earlier, the same has also been done for the pharmacy and commerce students at graduation level. Subsequently, majority of the private universities followed the decision. There is no iota of doubt that local language plays a significant role in effective understanding by children of early education grades. According to modern education research reports, a bilingual approach not only improves educational outcomes in developing countries and local language emerges as a potent instrument in the success of educational endeavours in multilingual communities. Though English has emerged as an international language, yet it could not get the status of first langue in non-English speaking countries. For many children, this deep frustration and disappointment is not caused by physical or monetary barriers, but by the decision to teach in a language which they do not understand. Without skills in the mother-tongue, schooling in a foreign tongue is nearly impossible. Similarly, learning to read in an L2 is more demanding than becoming literate in the mother tongue. China, French, Russia, Norway, Portugal and Iran are the living examples to substantiate the fact that local language is an effective and potent means of source to give information to budding students and these states have always given the second status to English as the second language status. But in Pakistan, the situation is entirely different. The new HEC policy envisages Urdu as an optional subject for the graduate students is tantamount to killing the countrys official language. They strongly believe mother tongue-based multilingual education is the key in developing learning skills, which in turn fosters student success and curbs dropouts. The HEC decision gives strength to the doubts that if this decision is implemented then after about 20 years one could hardly find a lot of Urdu language experts that could take the local language to future times. Teaching students in their own language with a gradual addition of English will make them the best learners. They can be ready to tackle more advanced studies in the English language and set up for success in universities. The authorities must take action to ensure that Urdu gets a top priority in the national education system, otherwise, nobody would be able to save this official language.


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