Pupils put off 'boring' Hindi

DESPITE government attempts to "Hindu-ise" the curriculum, primary children in India would rather learn English, according to a survey in Uttar Pradesh, the heart of the country's Hindi belt.

Pupils find their language "dull, boring and sad", and above all "impossible to comprehend", the study found.

"Fifty years of indifference to the national language is finally taking its toll," said Rakesh Chandra, one of two professors at Lucknow University who carried out the research.

They found that most children saw English as a better language, and felt it was the best means to secure their future.

English is gaining popularity across India - even in "backward" schools - as the more progressive states realise the impact that globalisation ill have on future generations.

A number of states, including Maharashtra and Haryana, want English to be introduced in all state-run primary schools.

In Haryana, the state government is keen to introduce the language to first-years. According to the state education secretary: "This step is essential if the disparity between urban and rural students is to be removed."

The pupils surveyed by Lucknow University said Hindi textbooks were "terrible and uninspiring". Professor Chandra discovered that a "majority of the children found no similarity between the printed word and the actual language as it is spoken".

The children said that, though they learned the spellings by rote, they seldom understood the meaning of the word.

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