English medium for the government primary schools of Sindh, Pakistan
Channa, Liaquat Ali
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The National Education Policy (NEP, 2009) of Pakistan mandates that English shall be used as a medium of instruction for certain subjects in Grade 4 and onward in 2014. An English as a compulsory subject policy was launched in 2003. This study explored quantitatively and qualitatively the government primary school teachers’ perceptions regarding seven aspects associated with the English medium policy in Sindh. While a mid-partial immersion model is supposed to occur in the public primary schools of Sindh based upon the proposed language policy in the NEP 2009, the study suggests that the model would not be fruitful. The study found that while the teachers had positive attitudes regarding the current role and impact of English, they believed students would not be able to learn science and math taught in English in Grades 4 and 5. They held that students did not have sound English skills because the English was not adequately taught to them in Grades 1, 2, and 3. The teachers were also not satisfied with their own English skills. They believed they did not have adequate English proficiency for teaching in English. They thought they needed training to be able to teach in English; and, few believed teaching in English could help them improve their English proficiency and teaching skills. The participants associated their motivation for teaching in English with the need for training. While the teachers believed the English medium policy was beneficial in its rationale, they thought the positive impact would occur only if English subject policy initiated in 2003 was effectively taught, the teachers were comprehensively trained, and English proficient teachers were appointed. Moreover, the teachers believed for the success of the English medium policy, parents should be involved, teachers must be trained and committed, and primary education must be standardized. The teachers also held that students must first learn their mother tongue which would help them learn English. The teachers believed the students must not learn English at the cost of losing their native language. The study recommends that the English medium policy be postponed and suggested measures must be taken before the policy is implemented.