English as a second language is taught in most schools in countries whereby English is not the native language. In Asian countries like India, China, English as a second language is taught in most schools. However, with the advent of a global culture both in schools of learning as well as in professional workplaces, even in countries which are not native English speaking, English is considered as first language and the medium of instruction in such schools.
In developing countries, having schools which have English as the medium of instruction is low in semi urban and rural areas. Employment of English speaking teachers is still at a premium in such areas and hence, local and regional language prevails as the medium of instruction at all regional and local schools. In such schools teaching English as second language is the common norm.
English a second language in school curriculum has its own advantages and disadvantages. It’s an advantage against those schools which provide no option of learning the language; and it is a huge benefit for those who pursue higher education in subjects which are usually taught in English.
However, English a second language has several limitations. Teaching English as a second language does not provide enough scope to practice and hone English speaking skills. Thus students passing out of schools which offer English as a second language have limited English speaking skills opposed to those who study the language as a first language option. Again, English a second language loses out to the regional language which is used as the medium of instruction in such schools. Thus, such students, when they intend to pursue higher studies in English or aspire for careers in MNC companies, fall in a dilemma due to their inability to speak and write the language with ease.
Missionary schools in various backward and developing countries have helped out in this aspect greatly. Not only have they provided the much needed assistance in setting up schools in such areas, they have also provided an environment whereby students can study in a mode of English as the medium. This has strengthened the popularity and use of English in remote areas where basic education is seen as a blessing in itself.
Thus, English a second language option in school curriculums should make parents think twice. In today’s global environment, children should grow up confident in English which can only come from studying in an environment where the mode of instruction is English.