Education In A Second Language Impedes Acquiring Knowledge

Education In A Second Language Impedes Acquiring Knowledge
In Pakistan, there are many different cultural groups and each one has their language. All of them have to get an education in English or Urdu. Both languages are aliens to a child who gets entrance into school. Most schools in Pakistan are English-medium schools which are providing education in English.

School is the place where children can get knowledge from their teachers and books. If a child doesn't know English, then how can a child get knowledge from books which he/she can't understand? After F.A. and F.Sc., they gradually start understanding English – mostly in the form of cramming books. If they don't understand books, then how can they get knowledge and build up their understanding and knowledge – which they need not only in making their career but also in practical life and in developing a new idea; i.e. producing new knowledge?

Language is the source of grasping new knowledge and building up new knowledge. If you don't know and understand a language, then can you acquire knowledge in that language? No, it's not possible. You can only cram books but can't grasp knowledge. Here, in Pakistan, we reprimand students by saying that they are not reading books, but we never look at the reasons which compel them to not do so.

From what I have understood, the main obstacle is that of not understanding English. The general response from young people that I get is along the lines of “we love reading books, but we find it difficult. In school or college, we waste our twelve years in learning languages, Urdu and English, while we had to get knowledge.”

Cramming is quite a difficult task, and it makes students bored. A student can't cram more than two pages in one hour. After cramming for one hour, they get bored and, in the end, they stop reading books. In the end, cramming doesn't give them much benefit, and it dissuades them from reading further.

Our education system has always been criticised by many scholars and intellectuals, for not providing a good education. Government schools have always failed in providing a standard education, some foreign-curriculum private schools are providing a good education i.e. Oxford and Cambridge educational system in Pakistan, but these are present mainly in some large cities of Pakistan. Moreover, only elite-class students can get admission there, because of the high fees.

In Pakistan, Urdu is spoken as their primary language by 7% of people. It is argued often that education should be available for everyone in their mother tongue.

That view is largely correct. If we want to make our children habitual and fond of reading, then we have to provide them education in their mother tongue, so they could begin to actually understand the books and get something out of this exercise, that would one day allow them to produce new knowledge.