Constitutional Provisions and Policies of Language Education

History of English Education in India

Although the Charter Act of 1913 marked the beginning of English in India, English had already set foot on Indian territory long before that. In reality, English education in India has developed gradually through time, starting with the arrival on Indian land of the East India Company, a British trading organisation founded on December 31, 1600. In the end, Lord Macaulay was the one who officially introduced English instruction to India in his illustrious minutes of 2 February 1835. He’d stated, “Whether we look at the intrinsic value of our literature, or at the particular situation of this country, we shall see the strongest reason to think that, of all foreign tongues, the English tongue is that which would be the most useful to our native subiects”.

 What is the role of English in Indian Education?

In India’s educational system, English has traditionally held a special place for foreign language instruction. It received unfriendly treatment by our political leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Maulana Azad, Rajgopal Acharya, and many more, but despite this, Hindi has remained an essential language in education that India hasn’t managed to abandon even after 70 years of independence. The fact that Indians utilise it as a lingua franca for communication both inside and outside of India has led to its current status as one of the country’s official languages.

What is the importance of Article 343 of the Indian Constitution in the history of English education in India?

After gaining independence, India had to choose which language to employ in offices and educational institutions had to choose which language to employ in offices and educational institutions right away after gaining independence. Article 434 (Clause 2) was unanimously enacted to put an end to the debate in 1950 as the debate between keeping and eliminating English got louder. The relevant clause of the article stated: “Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (1), the English language shall continue to be used for all the official purposes of the Union for which it was being used immediately before such commencement for a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution.” The period of fifteen years was seen to be essential for the development of Hindi as an English alternative. However, this has not happened because of the importance of English at the global level.

what is article 344 in India

In accordance with Article 344, a language commission was established to submit suggestions on

(a) The Union’s official communications are conducted in Hindi,

(b) limitations on the use of English for all or any of the Union’s official purposes. It was formerly thought that Article 343’s fifteen-year window for using English would have expired.

(c) Hindi would be allowed to replace English as the official language for all forms of communication between the Union and the states.