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Linguistic Inequalities: The Urdu-English Medium Divide in Pakistan. Dr Fauzia Shamim Professor, Dept of English University of Karachi, Karachi email@example.com. Outline. Introduction & Background Role and status of Urdu and English Educational context in Pakistan What’s the issue?
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Dr Fauzia Shamim
Professor, Dept of English
University of Karachi, Karachi
(see also Mansoor, 2005 & Shamim, 2007)
“envisages revolutionizing the socio-economic indicators of Pakistan and will contribute considerably to supplement the efforts of government to improve the standard of higher education and scientific learning”.
“will help the graduates of public sector universities and institutions of higher learning, to compete for good jobs in Pakistan”.
(Mansoor, 2005; Rahman, 1996; Shamim & Allen, 2000; Shamim & Tribble, 2005)
To explore learners’ perceptions and experience of the Urdu-English medium divide in Pakistan
1. How do bi/multilingual learners experience the Urdu-English medium divide in the context of a higher education institution in Pakistan?
2. How do their experiences (and perceptions) affect their desire to acquire and manage high and low-value language assets?
Languages are assigned value according to the context in which they areused- so the same language may be considered high value in one context and low-value in another
Identity as analytic lens
(Gee, 2000: 100-107)
“Mera jo school thha wo English medium ke naam se jana jata he [my school is known as an English-medium school]”
[However, no focus in school on developing linguistic skills - learnt English mainly at home through help & encouragement from older siblings]
English: a high value asset in construction of D-Identity
“I was the ice candy for my teachers, for my English teachers especially. . . . I was always raising my hand, answering questions, writing good character sketches. There was discrimination. They [the teachers] used to like me better. Girls wanted me to read out.”
“I can tell from my childhood experience that a lot depends on your schooling. If your schooling has been good you’re definitely going to make it. If you have had your schooling in the English language you will definitely thrive.You will definitely get proficiency in English. And I acknowledge that there is a lot of difference in schooling. My friends who don’t know English- they didn’t have good schooling. Mine was relatively better-just relatively better-less that A level students.” (Translated)
(key words spoken in English have been highlighted)
I-identity: English-medium [Matriculation and] Intermediate track
“They [A levels stream] are entirely different people. I don’t know for what reason. . . . They consider it as a privilege to be there; to learn English; to learn Sciences better; to learn advance Mathematics . . . they consider us ke matriculation ke students; kia aage in kya future he [they think matriculation students do not have a bright future] So I think that is the barrier. . . . My friend has got admission at IBA but he’s not satisfied with it. For an intermediate student, it’s a privilege to be an IBA graduate, doing BBA from there. They think that you know we have opportunities, bahar jane ki [to go aboard]. We [A levels stream] are privileged; you [intermediate stream] are not.”
Construction of D- identity in relation to current and future life chances
How can linguistic inequality based on parallel systems of education be addressed, or more important, a more equitable education system developed in Pakistan?