In the first year of my college life, a new system called the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) was introduced in Delhi University. The system introduced an Ability Enhancement Compulsory Course (AECC), a subject intended to enhance the skills of students by making them learn something different from their chosen course. One day in the AECC English lecture, our teacher told us to write a small paragraph about ourselves and asked us to read it out to the whole class. It seemed to be any easy exercise for college students. All one was required to do, was to give an introduction about themselves, something that everyone had learnt in school at an early age. However, a girl sitting in front of me, seemed uncomfortable doing the allotted task and seemed scared and embarrassed at the very thought of it. My teacher could easily notice her hesitation and asked her to present herself. She was reluctant to do so and stood up to read out the piece she had written but could hardly speak anything.
No, it was not stage fear, and neither was it a reluctance to introduce herself. The only reason why the girl was not being able to speak a few simple sentences, was that she had to speak them in English.
Delhi University is a place where people from various backgrounds come to take admission and it is probably the first time in one’s life that one sees such a diversity of people. People from various states, speaking diverse languages and each with his/her own story are present. In this plethora of diversity, we often forget to focus on a common problem which prevails among many students, especially among the outstation ones. Many students cannot understand or speak English properly and many a times are even unable to construct a proper sentence in English. A student’s background and the medium of education in school are often reasons for their inability to comprehend and speak a language which is not their mother tongue. But unfortunately, English today has become a parameter to judge the intelligence of a person. People fail to realize that these students who know other languages are also brilliant minds and do fantastically well in their lives.
The class XII examination board also permits students to answer the questions in Modern Indian Languages(MIL) and even Delhi University semester exams are conducted in two languages viz. Hindi and English. However, the books are written in English only, thus creating a very difficult situation for those who previously studied in Hindi medium schools and were courageous enough to take up a reputed course in Delhi University which is taught in English. It is known that there is special care given to differently abled students wherein workshops are conducted and meetings held, but never is attention focused on the problems faced by students who do not understand English but are forced to read their course books written in English.
Why is there a scenario where not many courses are open for students who do not know English? Why can’t the University make all courses accessible to students knowing only Hindi?
Many students from different colleges in DU face this problem relating to comprehending English. They are made to read books written in English, which becomes very difficult for them. After receiving complaints from students, the university has now started to provide books in Hindi and the prescribed books for courses like Economics Hons. and B.com have been translated to Hindi.
Therefore, I hope you now understand the difficulties faced by some students in speaking English. It is better if we create a more friendly environment for them and help them out with their problems and avoid making them feel embarrassed or uncomfortable by conversing with them in Hindi.