Education and Medium of Instruction

Education and Medium of Instruction | PakistanTribe“Being a student for more than eighteen years and teaching for a couple of years now, I have some serious stuff to say about education system and specially about education system in third world countries.
We have the best examples in the world where societies plagued with corruption and lawlessness built themselves on the pillars of education. Whether its war stricken Japan, Germany, Russia or countries like Korea, who had no natural resources, nothing but human mind. We know a couple of things about all these countries for sure, first they all had a bad time and now they are the most developed countries of the world based on their strong education systems. Secondly, all of these nations developed their curriculum and teaching system in their own language. The countries like us, who stayed under the colony of some imperialistic state tend to follow norms of our masters even after independence. I have studied in English medium schools throughout my academic career but I realized the fact after getting exposure to countries like Japan, Korea, Germany, and China that only way to contribute for well being of society and mankind is to teach countrymen in their own language. Learning in your second language kills one’s creativity. One may study more than one languages as literature but  knowledge should be transferred in one’s first language. When taught in a foreign language, students are confused with different terminology, terms and etymologies. Been a student of engineering, I can give one example as in the subject of ‘electronics’, we have a semiconductor device named as ‘avalanche diode’. Now this particular device gets its name due to its electrical properties, which have a sudden increase in current in reverse bias similar to an avalanche but frankly speaking for the guy like me, I never knew the meaning of word ‘avalanche’ until I graduated from the university.

Another thing which I want to mention is related to the names of units, quantities and devices. Usually we have two ways to do this, one is to name something after its inventor and other is to name things based on their use or properties. I think its the great idea to honor scientists, who contributed in the field of their interest but naming things after their properties is more useful. Again an engineering example comes to my mind, we have a well known transformation on signals called ‘Fourier transform’ named after the inventor’s name and another transform called ‘Discrete Cosine Transform’ named after its functionality. The first one after the scientist name does not give a lot of meaning and confuses me while second one sends some message as its name is called. I realize the fact that naming things is not in our hand as currently we are not in such a position but we can always translate books, establish systems where we teach our future generations in our own language so that people can create things, can innovate and solve the problems world is facing. This way we can get out of extreme problems and can be torch bearers for other countries.

To this extent, I know one person and admire him for his efforts and contributions to achieve above mentioned goals. His name is Orya Maqbool Jan, a great civil officer, a social worker, philanthropist and hard working person. He has established ‘Al-Ilm trust’ to promote education in our own language. I am an ordinary supporter of their mission. Currently, they need volunteers who can translate one of their favorite foreign language books in our national language. I took this responsibility and hopefully, I will turn more than one book. I think this is peak time, we learn from the countries which are leading in all areas of excellence, we need to learn that knowledge is gained and transferred best in national language.  “

About the author

Mujeeb Ahmed

Mujeeb Ahmed is a researcher and a PhD scholar at Singapore University of Technology and Design. He writes about science, technology, higher education and socio-economic issues surrounding us.

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