Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 11 : 5 May 2011
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.





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English among the Underprivileged
A Case Study of the Linguistic Minority Learners in West Odisha

Anand Mahanand, M.A., M. Phil., Ph. D.


English language education has been spreading faster to different parts of our country in recent years. It has percolated even to the interior regions and has been welcomed by almost all sections of our society.

There have been pressures on the state governments by the deprived sections to introduce English as a medium at the primary level. Are the schools meant for the deprived sections of society ready to meet such a demand in terms of materials, method and physical infrastructure?

The objective of this paper is to make a survey of English language education in such a context. It also seeks to discuss what kind of impact it will have on the indigenous languages and cultures. Will they be endangered with the dominant presence of English? Or can the indigenous languages coexist with English by playing a positive role in the teaching and learning of English.

The paper reports two experiments which show that integration of English language education with indigenous languages can yield good results.

In such a context, it is worth studying the challenges and possibilities English can offer to the learners, their culture and languages.


This paper makes a survey of teaching and learning situation in the interior parts of West Odisha to make a study of the teaching-learning situations of the underprivileged children at the High School levels and suggests ways of overcoming some of the problems faced by these learners. It makes a case study of the learners coming from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in West Odisha and proposes that the learners' language as well as cultural resources should be integrated in the pedagogy. Such a strategy will make language education effective. In addition the pedagogic reform, the paper also suggests measures for improvement at the institutional levels.

Assumptions of the Paper

The paper is based on the following assumptions that there is a tremendous pressure from the underprivileged parents and intellectuals like Chandrabhan Prasad (qtd. in Graddol 2010:65) and Kanch Illaiah (2010) on English language education (even though there is limited infrastructure and preparedness). As a result several states have introduced English at the primary level and others are going to introduce such schemes in future. Orissa has introduced English as a required subject at the primary level. English education, thus, is made available to the inaccessible regions, aligning English with indigenous languages and cultures. This is bound to play a key role in the life and careers of the deprived people in these regions.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Anand Mahanand, M.A. M. Phil., Ph. D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Materials Development
EFL University
Andhra Pradesh, India

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