Should English Be the Medium of Instruction in Sri Lankan Universities

Topics: Multilingualism, Second language, Linguistic rights Pages: 4 (1210 words) Published: November 9, 2012
Should English be the medium of instruction in Sri Lankan Universities

Medium of instruction is a language used in teaching. It may or may not be the official language of the country or territory. Where the first language of students is different from the official language, it may be used as the medium of instruction for part or all of schooling and universities Bilingual or multilingual education may involve the use of more than one language of instruction. UNESCO considers that "providing education in a child's mother tongue is indeed a critical issue"

Native-language instruction is the practice of teaching schoolchildren in their native language instead of in the official language of their country of residence. An English medium education system is one that uses English as the primary medium of instruction – in particular where English is not the mother tongue of the students. Because a working knowledge of English is perceived as being valuable, many states throughout the world where English is not the predominant language encourage or mandate the use of English as the normal medium of instruction.

Bilingual education involves teaching academic content in two languages, in a native and secondary language with varying amounts of each language used in accordance with the program model. There are two ways of Bilingual education. First one is Transitional Bilingual Education. This involves education in a child's native language, typically for no more than three years, to ensure that students do not fall behind in content areas like mathematics, science, and social studies while they are learning English. Research has shown that many of the skills learned in the native language can be transferred easily to the second language later. The goal is to help students transition to mainstream, English-only classrooms as quickly as possible, and the linguistic goal of such programs is English acquisition only. In a transitional bilingual program, the student's...
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