Parents have ensured the number of children in English schools has doubled in just five years - from 61 lakh to 1.5 crore. But there are concerns that the growth is still not fast enough...
Maniram Sharma studied in Hindi medium and took the civil service examination in that language before clearing all the tests to become an IAS officer. He is very clear, though, that he wants his two children to study in an English school. "I respect Hindi, my mother tongue," he says. "But English is the language of the future and it opens up the whole world to you."
It is this realisation of opportunities which English offers that is persuading a growing number of Indian parents to opt for sending their kids to English-medium schools. And the poor are often more desperate to do so, rejecting the option of free education in a government school, where the medium of instruction is usually Hindi or the primary language of the respective region. They willingly bear the burden of not-so-cheap private school education to have their children learn a language that might take them where they, their fathers and grandfathers never went. People like Sunita Devi, for instance. "Since I cannot afford to put both my children in a private English medium school, only my son is going to one," says the woman who works as a domestic help. "My daughter goes to a government school. But if I manage to earn more, I will put her also in a private school."
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