This week has been a busy one for politicians in Maharashtra, for journalists, television anchors and their community, and also for the people who are specifically interested in current affairs.

No, I don’t intend to give my analysis of what happened this week in Maharashtra. Instead, I am interested in the happenings for a different reason. As events unfolded in Maharashtra, newspapers came up with different headlines and were trying to beat each other in the creative game. Students of journalism and media should use this opportunity to closely watch and learn the art of crafting catchy headlines, reporting, editing and designing.

M Bharat Kumar, a political commentator said, “This is a classic case for journalism students to understand the roles of legislature and judiciary. They can also understand how fragile our democratic system is. Everything ultimately boils down to numbers. A party which crosses the magic number (in this case, 145) comes to power. Political powers leave no stone unturned to ensure that they come to power.”

Agreeing with him, Chennai-based senior journalist M Bhaskar Sai said, “The headline in the newspapers on November 23 contrasted with the reality. While the headline spoke of a party leader projected as the chief ministerial candidate for Maharashtra, the reality was that another leader had already been sworn in. Journalism students should understand that news can always change, and they must be prepared for it, more so after the advent of social media.”

Not only students of journalism and media, but also schoolchildren (standard VI and upwards) can be taught how certain terms, which they have seen only in their civics textbooks, have been put to use throughout Maharashtra’s current political events.

“Terms such as floor test, highest mandate, caretaker CM, alliance, three party alliance, President’s rule, legislature unit head, revocation of President’s rule, exception to the rule etc. can be explained beautifully if the teacher has kept track of the events that unfolded in the state of Maharashtra. It is good to use this case study rather than just teaching from the books. It helps students understand those concepts better. Also, in the process, I initiate them into following current affairs,” said Shantha Chandrasekar, a retired social studies teacher.

There can be no debate on the fact that students should be taught the concepts well, but unfortunately, language issues become an unavoidable ingredient in this kind of discussions.

“I would be very happy if my six-year-old son grasps the concepts well. That is my priority, but I would also prefer that he learns it in English as it would give him better prospects,” says Dr P L Sarada from Hyderabad.

Recently, the government of Andhra Pradesh introduced English as a medium of instruction for schools from Classes I to VI. Students will be given an option to select one of the two local languages – Telugu or Urdu. Similarly, in Karnataka, English medium was introduced in government schools by the Janata Dal (Secular) – Congress government in October 2018. On similar lines, the government of Tamil Nadu has decided to dedicate one period every week to enhance spoken English skills of its students.

With due respect to the beliefs and ideologies of each state government, it would still be necessary – and better – for them to constantly check if their efforts are bearing fruits and if all parameters (such as infrastructure, teaching ability of teachers and comprehension capacity of students) are working in tandem to produce the desired, favourable results.

Anoop Aswathi, a professional from New Delhi employed with a multinational company and a father of two college-goers said, “Learning English is essential. It opens a lot of avenues to interact with people from other countries. At the same time, the basics of one’s mother tongue should also be taught.”

Amidst the political, regional and linguistic issues, it is important that the purpose of bringing up the next generation which is ready to compete in the outside world is not lost.

Emphasising on the fact that there is an urgent need to nurture global citizens, Sanjeev Nimkar, Chief Operating Officer of Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited, said, “We should infuse global citizenship values in our children. An element that I find missing in today’s education is the ability to think clearly. It is high time clear thinking is developed among children. It is also called intellect. The ability of children to question should be nurtured. I feel that parents suppress this at a very early age, and this should not be done.”   

If an entire generation is brought up as global citizens, not only will crimes committed due to numerous differences be reduced, but also the world will become a better place, wouldn’t it?

Preetha Kadhir

Preetha Kadhir is a Journalist with 15+ years of exp in national and international newspapers. She has penned rhymes for children and loves writing about education, parenting and societal issues.

The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Tilak Chronicle and TTC Media Pvt Ltd.

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