Click here for the Project Website Demonstrate that English as a second language in a Kannada medium education (or any regional language) is competitive today. In upcoming India which is experiencing success through a large body of English speakers, it is understandable that the aspiring child and parent desire "English Medium" education. As a side effect, the schools with regional languages, and their students feel disadvantaged. I was told by a parent and professor, who did not have the luxury of an English Medium education, but can now afford it for their child, torn between the choice of either English Medium or Kannada. They are very aware of the benefits that either has to offer - but in our current society, it is realistically only a choice of one or the other. Among those that can afford the English Medium education, that becomes the default choice. There is the belief that learning in our mother tongue may have several advantages. But, the current system gets us one or the other (hear the Genesis talk - mp3 20 mins). Maybe, children learn better in their primary language, and english learned as a second language is viable in modern India too. The Chandrapal Project is designed to do challenge this undocumented and common myth that seems to drive our social priorities on medium of education. A much debated and emotional topic over the years, but with little hard data and experiments to allow an alternate possibility a chance. Our approach is to not have to make this choice as an either or choice - There is no reason not to have both - excellent ability in English and excellent ability in our mother tongue. The promise is that if we can do that, we will push the limit of what the educated Indian can accomplish at a global scale. Learning and intuition are so tied to language - and when we force the system to have an either or choice, we limit ourselves. It is true that the educated Indian has excelled at a global scale - but they are often the few and fortunate. If we remove the hurdles placed on our children today, imagine the scale and volume of advancement we can achieve for our people.
The Chandrapal Project is structured with these objectives:
1. Provide good English as a Second Language education in a Kannada medium school - Kadiyali Higher Primary School 2. Achieve a level of confidence and ability that rival the "English Medium" kid. 3. Track success - if the Kannada Medium child does as well or better than the English Medium kid - we demonstrate that learning in our mother tongues is a good choice - even for those who can afford the private English Medium school.
Who is Major Chandrapal?
Major Chillarege Chandrapal, (1913-1995) served in the Indian Army and fought during World War II across what is today the middle-east and Burma. He also fought in the Chinese Aggression of 1962, and served in Vietnam as part of an international peace keeping force. After retirement he re-enlisted and served in West Bengal during the Bangaladesh liberation war, commanding a refugee camp of over 30,000 - one of several, when over a million refugees from Bangaladesh were supported in India for about a year. He made Udupi, Southern Karnataka, his home after retirement, since his wife belonged to this area. Apparently, he took a fancy to place on his first visit here in the '50s - to the peacefulness, the very cultured and diverse community people, and energy they exude. He was a great believer that education is the key to our success as a people. He never lost an opportunity to share that belief with any young kid he ran into - telling them to gain the best education they can, travel and be whatever you can be. Every kid in my neighbourhood who grew up with me stopped by when he died to recount their personal stories and moments of inspiration that he brought them. This is probably the most fitting program that I can think of to execute in his honour. He has been a great father to me, and someone I think of often. - Ram Chillarege