CHENNAI, June 29:
Vice President M.Venkaiah Naidu today batted for adopting mother tongue as the medium of instruction in public and private schools, at least until the primary level.
Speaking after inaugurating the Vellore International School (VIS) on the outskirts of the city, he said “we must pay attention to is the use of mother tongue in school education. Wherever possible, at least until the primary level, we must have the medium of instruction in public and private schools in the mother tongue”.
“We must encourage students to speak freely in their mother tongue in their social environment in the school premises, in all the cultural events and at their homes. Only when we can freely and proudly speak our mother tongue can we truly appreciate our cultural heritage”, he added.
Reiterating that focusing on our mother tongue is not to suggest that one need not learn other languages like English, the Vice President said “in fact, I often say that one should learn as many languages as possible. But what is required is a strong foundation in the mother language.”
“Studies have shown that multilingualism can lead to better cognitive development in children. Proficiency in other languages, in addition to one’s mother tongue, helps build cultural bridges and opens windows to new worlds of experience”, he said.
Appealing to the schools across the nation to foster the spirit of curiosity, innovation and excellence in students, Naidu said in the technology-driven fast changing world, challenges and opportunities abound.
“In this context, the best skill schools can impart a student today is that of adaptability. Students must be trained to think quickly on their feet, be agile and innovate using cutting-edge technologies to solve 21st century problems”, he said.
“We must have an educational strategy aligned to this futuristic approach and shun rote learning. We must also do away with the artificial segregation between curricular and extracurricular activities and encourage multi-disciplinarity in education”, Naidu said.
In the old Gurukul system, the teacher spent time and stayed with the student, allowing for the character moulding and correct assessment of the pupil.
“At VIS I am happy to be informed that they are trying to introduce a concept of ‘house parent’ to integrate the positive aspects of Guru Shishya parampara with modern pedagogical practices”, the Vice President said.
Naidu said schooling lays the most important foundation for a student’s academic and professional excellence in later years. But more importantly, the time a child spends in school during his/her formative years shapes their personality and moulds their character.
“This becomes the biggest determinant in not only the individual’s success at a personal level but is also key to build model citizenry that can take the country forward”, he added.
Schools must focus on value-based, holistic education that brings out the greatest potential and the highest virtues from each student. Remember, education without values is no education at all, he noted.
In the effort for an all-round growth of students, academic institutions must strive to provide the required facilities and encourage students to take up regular physical activity. Students must enthusiastically take up sports or any form of exercise which appeals to them and build a healthy lifestyle, Naidu said.
It is the bane of modern, competitive education that students are often constrained to the four-walls of the classroom in the name of academics. They must experience the world outside ? spend time in the lap of nature, interact with all sections of society and understand various crafts and trades. Classroom programmes must be ably supplemented with active participation in field activities, social awareness and community service initiatives, he said. UNI)