GUWAHATI, Feb 1 – Asserting that children learn best only through their mother tongue, thinker and critic Dr Hiren Gohain on Saturday said the neglect of society and the Government was at the root of the decline of vernacular medium government-run schools of the State.Dr Gohain was giving the inaugural address at a seminar on ‘Asomiya Madhyamar Bidyalayar Bhabisyat’ held at the Kumar Bhaskar Natya Mandir in connection with the Manik Chandra Middle English School’s centenary celebrations.
Reasoning that medium was not the cause behind the decline of vernacular schools, Dr Gohain said it was borne out by the fact that some Assamese medium schools were doing quite well even as a majority of those were performing below par.
“This shows that medium is not the sole factor behind the poor state of Assamese-medium schools. Neglect from society and consequently from the Government has greatly harmed the cause of Assamese-medium schools,” he said.
Dr Gohain, who is an alumnus of the school, said matters crucial to a streamlined functioning of a school such as management of the educational institutions, teachers’ appointment, standard of textbooks, etc., were being grossly neglected, resulting in poor performance by the schools.
On the use of mother tongue in schools, Dr Gohain said, “Early education in mother tongue provides the best scope for learning for children. By neglecting mother tongue at school level, we are doing great injustice to nation-building. It is through one’s mother tongue that one can easily connect with things that constitute one’s identity,” he said.
On a broader context, Dr Gohain blamed commercialisation and privatisation of education for the ills of the present-day educational system in the country.
The function, presided over by Tezpur University Pro Vice Chancellor Dr Amarjyoti Choudhury – also a former student of the MCME School – was addressed among others by Dr Harendranath Das, former director of Secondary Education, Assam and educationist Basant Deka.
Prof Dilip Barua, former principal of Cotton College, Suren Goswami, Parul Saikia Nath, Suchitra Goswami, Pranita Sarma Bardoloi, Dr Baijayanti Goswami, Dr Rukmini Bora, among others participated in the interactive session.
Akhil Chandra Sarma, Principal of the school, offered the vote of thanks.