Language is closely linked with a person’s socialization. It is something that develops in a community. The culture, political thought, and sociological dimension of people living in a group have a direct bearing on the language they speak. That is why language is never regarded as something neutral, and the medium of instruction used in school has far-reaching implications. It can facilitate the social, cultural, and intellectual development or it can hurt the capacity to learn. Unfortunately, factors other than these obvious ones have determined the language to be used to teach a young child in Pakistan. The failure to look at language as a crucial component of education per se has resulted in our failure to spread literacy and learning in the country.
Can we reform education in Pakistan using any language? No, says the author, who argues her case from a young child’s perspective. Since the first edition of this book, a lot of research has been carried out on this subject. The findings have not changed, but they shed new light on the subject and should certainly create more awareness among educationists and policymakers, as well as parents. The author proposes the roles to be assigned to the mother tongue, the national language, and English, the international language of the day.
Zubeida Mustafa is a Karachi-based journalist who worked as Assistant Editor for the English daily Dawn from 1975 till her retirement in 2009. She wrote editorials and articles on the social sector after extensive research on education, health, women, children, and population. Earlier, from 1962 till 1969, Zubeida Mustafa worked as a Research Officer in the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs in Karachi.
She is the author/editor of several books, including The SIUT Story: Making the ‘Impossible’ Possible, The South Asian Century, and For Life, Peace and Justice (by Maisoon Hussein).
In 2012, Zubeida Mustafa won the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She is also the recipient of the Global Media Award for Excellence in Population Reporting for 1986 and 2004, presented by the Population Institute, Washington, DC. She contributes a weekly column to Dawn and her writings are reproduced worldwide on the web.