Is English really as harmful to India as Bharatiya Janata Party President Rajnath Singh (seen here) has made it out to be?
While there are cultural and political dimensions to Singh's arguments, his assertion that English is harmful isn't well-grounded in terms of economic outcomes.
A clutch of recent academic studies have tried to quantify the beneficial economic impacts of speaking English and/or attending an English-medium school.
A perfect natural experiment happened in West Bengal.
In 1983, the Left Front government eliminated English from the primary school curriculum in government-run schools.
The logic of the government and its supporters was that English at the primary level was an elitist pre-occupation and would do more harm than good to the poor rural kids, who were the main beneficiaries of government schools, the argument went, and were more likely to drop out if forced to learn English.
Two studies show that things didn't go quite as planned in West Bengal.
Text: Rupa Subramanya, Business Standard