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Majority of schools in Pakistan are taught English as compulsory subject throughout the school years, at least until graduated from college. Just like rest of the educational institutes in Pakistan, the overseas Pakistanis foundation (OPF) College/school also teaches English as a compulsory subject, but the reason I am evaluating language policy for this particular school is because this institute is not only for Pakistani citizens, it has a lot more overseas students as well. OPF’s language policy is clear to be English, not only as the part of core curriculum but also as a medium of instruction.
An institutes language policy classifies the scope of an educational institute and OPF’s language policy is English just like most of the institutes in Pakistan. except two subjects i.e. Urdu, which is the national language of Pakistan, and Islamiyah which is the religious subject of people in Pakistan (also written in Urdu) ; however, other schools in Pakistan have not offered advantage to overseas students as OPF does i.
e., OPF lets overseas student take “easy Urdu” which basically means Urdu for beginners, and Islamiyah in English language. They have supplied separate books for them to study in Islamiyah in English, since they are not familiar with Pakistan’s mother language. Even teachers are different for those who wants to study Islamiyah in English or Urdu language. Moreover, this benefits overseas student because they don’t have to learn Urdu, unless they want to. This institute have given students the ease to succeed in their academia rather than giving them a pressure to learn new language right away.
No child should be left behind, that is why the institute’s administrators have been working to make sure that all of the teachers and support staff understand the school is English medium and bilingual as well but practice is must in English since overseas are mostly English language learners (ELLs) in OPF.
In Pakistan English language enjoys a role of second language not as a foreign language. Due to political, decisions or official policies in Pakistan English has been taught as a second language in our schools, Colleges and Universities. Although, English is tough is dominant in institutes, people speak their own mother language i.e Urdu at home or at gathering, just like amy tan states in her article, ‘There is an aspect of my fiction that relates to thus-and-thus –a speech filled with carefully wrought grammatical phrases, burdened, it suddenly seemed to me, with nominalized forms, past perfect tenses, conditional phrases, all the forms of standard English that I had learned in school and through books, the forms of English I did not use at home with my mother” (Tan,p1).In other words, the language one speaks is different and depends on the gathering we are attending or a person we are talking to. The students who had a strong competency over English language then they had a chance to make high achievements in their education career. Students with good English medium background may have a chance to attain a satisfactory status in the society as well. Another factor is the use of insensitive textbooks in Pakistan. Textbooks are not written in properly designed methods and the material in the books are not sufficient. In Pakistan, English medium institutes follow oxford press books since they have been following British colony, but some higher education institutes that have other books do not pay a lot of attention to the selection and upgradation of the textbooks. Many developed countries keep the ESL in their mind while making the syllabus material for their students. (Kirkpatrick, n.d.)
[bookmark: _Hlk33988248] Another factor under which English is being taught is that teachers for primary level in Pakistan are not subject specialist. They are supposed to teach all the subjects in that way students lack the competency in the English language. “An entity called South Asian English, which comprises varieties across India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh, is to talk in terms of a monolithic lingua franca English. While Kachru and others have long acknowledged the diversity within the supposed entities, this misses the point that the castigation of others for promoting monolithic English rather than diversity has to be done in more complex ways than mere pluralization”( Pennycook,2008,p.8). in other words, English in Pakistani institutes are not considered to be broken English, instead it is known to be south Asian English. The examination system in Pakistan are not knowledge oriented and it is result and marks oriented. It is subjective in setting and covers only the skills of reading and writing. Pakistan has faced the issue of language-in-education policy that remains unresolved to date since its independence from British colonial rulers in 1947. After independence, Urdu was introduced as the main medium of instruction (MOI) in government/public schools.
“Recent Second Language Acquisition research has shifted its focus on the cognitivist and psycholinguistic framework to a more fluid, dynamic, and diverse understanding of language development in social contexts” (Kutoba,2018,p.5). The government nationalized private schools and imposed Urdu language as the medium of instruction is all institutes of Pakistan, but later on, the policy was reversed and denationalization which led to a surge of English medium private institutions, especially in urban areas, which charged varying levels of fees and quality of education in English MOI. The choice of the MOI was now left to the provincial governments. However, the issue remains contested as evident in the National Education Policy (through Government of Pakistan) supports and allows the continuation of parallel education system and dual language-in-education policy. On the one hand, English is advocated in the realization of its global importance and value; on the other, the national language Urdu is emphasized as a means to enhancing conceptual understanding and the sense of national unity and integration. Loaded with pragmatic concerns, political tensions and little research, the status quo continues with the issue unresolved even after more than 50 years of the independence from the British colonial rule.
Both Urdu and English languages are considered the most important languages in Pakistan. Due to the spread of English as global language: the economic, social and political power associated with it; and the internationalization of higher education, English has become the preferred choice as MOI in university study programs world over. However, English MOI can create problems in university for non-English background students who have had their school and college education either in their first language or bilingually. Since English medium and Urdu medium are two main system of education in Pakistan, where Urdu medium is mainly for poor communities, while the English medium schools are normally privately owned for well off people who can pay easily for school. Students who attends English and Urdu medium schools have different labels on them and are identified differently from other’s perceptions of identity.
The historical perspective of Pakistan’s language-in-education policy revealed that the shifts and gaps in language-in-education and medium of instruction policies have always been a hurdle in the achievement of English language education goals in Pakistan since independence from the British colonial rule. (Shamim & Rashid, 2019).This situation has raised a continuous debate on language-in-education policy and medium of instruction in Pakistan since independence and Pakistani governments to date have been indecisive regarding this. This chaotic situation has caused a great setback to the education system in Pakistan. considering the education needs of Pakistani population, there is a dreadful need of discarding the outmoded colonial language policies and formulating effective language in education policy for the achievement of language education and ultimately the education goals for the better future of the country. “These research/practice gaps involve complex intersections of macro level language ideology and broader political, historical, economic, and ideological forces at a super macro level” (Kutoba,2018,p.8).The first step to achieve this goal is to ensure the provision of equal opportunities to all the school-goers in Pakistan to learn English language and get education in English medium. This can be done by developing and implementing a uniform language-in-education policy that enforces English medium of instruction at both public and private schools. (Rahman, 2019,pp. 364–380)
To analyze my research I used official website of an institute that I was evaluating i.e. Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF). I looked over the entire website materials, which included different interviews from the institutes staff and other people, I looked for application process and requirements too, so I could see what it would be like if I apply as an international student and to better examine the institutes language policy. That is how I analyzed and confirmed that the language policy for of which is considered a private school is English medium. Other than OPF’s official website, I read different articles that has done research on Pakistan’s educational language policy.
As mentioned above, I have evaluated the institute’s (OPF’s) ofccial website materials, interviews and other resources like articles and book that mentions Pakistani educational language policy to gather my information to draw from discourse analysis methodologies to construct my overall research. First, I analyzed and gathered information of the official website of the institute and then I started my research on different articles that states about overall Pakistani educational language policy so that I can compare and contrast different materials and see what this particular institute (OPF) has to give which others do not. Moreover, I went back and forth to the World’s Englishes readings to make a connection between my readings and the research I’m analyzing. I familiarized texts by re reading again and again to make sure I’m making connection between my research.
Some of the texts from the institutes official website I found were what I excluded from my analysis because those were personal opinion and interest and did not relate to my research of language policy.
Accepted by a substantial number of people in a research community it could be positivism and interpretivism paradigms of research within sociology, but most likely my research paradigm is in between but probably under Interpretivism since It approaches to social research.
However, it is clear that there is a contribution to be made when researching the effects of different languages used as medium of instruction in Pakistan that is Urdu (national language), English (second language).
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