Enrolment and retention of minority children in government Urdu medium schools
K Nageswara Rao, SK Munwar Ahammed
The present paper refers to the minority children in Government urdu medium schools in Hyderabad and Rangareddy districts of Telanagana state. The main objective of this paper is influencing socio-economic factors on enrolment and continuation of school education among minorities in the selected districts. The basic fact of life today is that most Urdu-speaking students do not have the choice of learning their mother tongue or receiving education through their mother tongue even at the primary level. At the higher levels, their choice of Urdu as a language for compulsory or optional study depends to a large extent on their relative proficiency in Urdu and other languages, the availability of Urdu in the curriculum, the facilities available at the particular institution and the wishes of the parents. The Urdu language in India has been enmeshed in the communal politics of the country and over the years has been perceived to be the language of Muslims. Today, the language is largely spoken by the Muslim lower and middle classes. Though in states like Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar, Delhi and Bengal, and in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh it has been given the status of a second language, it could not become the main medium of education. There is an unusually poetic, Urduesque ambiguity in the phrase “Urdu Education.” Most people who write about the present state of Urdu in India lose their way in the maze of this ambiguity and are apt to confuse the issues, miss the core problems, and reach false conclusions. At the college/university level, the Maulana Azad National Urdu University is the only institution which claims to offer distance education through the medium of Urdu. The Constitution also provides for the use of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction, at least at the primary level, and recognizes the right of linguistic and cultural minorities to preserve their language (Article 29). There is no reason, then, why the Urdu community should deprive itself of the right to have its children receive at least their primary education through the medium of their mother tongue within the state educational system, and, in addition, the right to study their mother tongue as a compulsory subject throughout the school years.