India is at the inflection point for development. To sustain this development, it needs to have a highly talented and skilled workforce. As of today, there are more than 1 lakh schools in Maharashtra itself. Of these, more than 60,000 schools use Marathi as a medium to teach.
Marathi schools are traditionally the old, established institutions. The schools are all at least 50-100 years old. So far, they have all been very secure in their existence, stable in their foundation and therefore very relaxed about their survival. Many of them have even been set up by iconic leaders like Tilak, Agarkar and Paranjape.
In the last thirty years or so, English medium schools started coming up. They started by offering something that these old Marathi schools could not – a new look, new teaching methods from the global market, in some cases even those lesson plans and activities in the classroom.
Today, the situation is alarming. Marathi medium schools are shutting down, and teachers are being put “on the bench”. In their place, English medium schools are blossoming.
English literacy is of high importance. We cannot ignore that, and it has to be kept a parallel priority. But, it makes absolutely no sense to keep the medium of instruction to be English. A whole lot of research has been done on the fact that education in the mother tongue is exponentially better than education which is received through the second language. From experience, we strongly stand by this fact. In fact, from our observation, in all countries, education through the mother tongue is actively encouraged and is also the norm.