Multilingual education in India

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A double divide between English, the vernaculars or the regional dominant languages, and tribal minority languages characterizes Indian multilingualism. In India, multiple languages complement each other in meeting the communicative needs of people and, hence, education must necessarily foster multilingual proficiency in the languages of functional significance. However, the common school programs in India offer only nominal forms of multilingual education. Nature and implications of the linguistic double divide for educational failure of tribal children due to their language disadvantage in schools in a dominant language are analyzed. Recent programs of mother tongue based multilingual education in India to overcome the language barrier for the tribal mother tongue children and their limitations in rising above the linguistic discrimination are discussed.


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