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Students taught in mother tongue perform better at primary school level

In a study that analysed the potential link between medium of instruction and student performance at primary school level, Math scores were used as proxy for student achievement while taking into account various socio-economic factors.

December 14, 2015 12:09 am | Updated March 24, 2016 03:35 pm IST - HYDERABAD:

The study said Telugu medium students fared better despite facing many odds such as lack of proper infrastructure, lesser nutritional intake and teacher participation. File Photo: V. Ganesan

The study said Telugu medium students fared better despite facing many odds such as lack of proper infrastructure, lesser nutritional intake and teacher participation. File Photo: V. Ganesan

In spite of facing odds, Telugu (mother tongue) medium students performed significantly better than their English medium counterparts at the primary level in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

In a study that analysed the potential link between medium of instruction and student performance at primary school level, Math scores were used as proxy for student achievement while taking into account various socio-economic factors. The sample size in the study comprised 915 children from 233 schools from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh (coastal districts and Rayalasema).

Sree Kumar Nair, analyst at the Bharati Institute of Public Policy, Indian School of Business, who conducted the study, told The Hindu the objective was to understand whether medium of instruction affected the learning outcomes at primary level. It was found that it impacted the achievement levels of students. He said Math score was a good indicator as a proxy for cognitive development. The analysis was done using Young Lives longitudinal data of primary school children in both the States.

Observing that Telugu medium students fared better despite facing many odds such as lack of proper infrastructure, lesser nutritional intake and teacher participation, he said English medium students came from a wealthier background and their parents were better educated than their Telugu medium counterparts. The results of the study were particularly important in the context of schemes such as mid-day meal programmes launched by the government.

Improving the infrastructure, ensuring better teacher participation and taking care of the nutritional deficit would benefit the disadvantaged students by ensuring higher learning outcomes, Mr. Nair added.

Based on the findings of the study, he concluded that introducing English as medium of instruction at earlier grades in the school might negatively affect learning outcomes.

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