#88, Article: ‘The Status of English Language Teaching in Pakistan’ by Syed Ali Waqas
by Tarun Patel
In Pakistan with its 63 year’s history and a colonial past the role of English has been a controversial one. To quote Rahman, successive constitutions of 1956, 1962 and 1973 all articulated the desire to replace English by Urdu in all domains but for all practical purposes. Today English remains a second language in Pakistan. It is the language of government, business, technology and law. As Haque (1983) points out the anchorage of English in Pakistan is that the constitution and the law is codified in English.
The medium of instruction in most of Pakistan’s schools is Urdu but students have a choice to take their Matric (10th class), Intermediate, Gruduate and Postgruduate examinations in Urd or English. English, however is taught as a compulsory language from class VI to the BA Graduate level in Pakistan’s schools and colleges. The exception is now both Punjab and Sindh. The Provincial Government of Punjab, made English a compulsory subject from class one in early 1994. January 1995 the Sindh provincial government also announced its policy of introducing English as a compulsory subject from class one.
Considering the gigantic number of students that will study Compulsory English at various levels in Pakistan, investment in the training of English teachers to teach English efficiently is a worthwhile one. This will help teachers teach English through modern accepted methods of teaching language adapted to Pakistan’s local conditions.
It is to be noted that English is taught by immersion in private schools in pakistan, which cater to a small percentage of the school going populations of the county. The graduates of these elite schools and colleges man jobs in the civil service, army and judiciary in Pakistan. The demand for English in Pakistan is growing as public perception increases that proficiency in English is a requisite for white collar jobs in Pakistan.
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