The English language occupies a very important place in our educational curricula. During the British rule in the Indo-Pak subcontinent, it was the language of the rulers, the chief medium of instruction and language of the offices and courts.
When the British left this country, a reaction took us to the other extreme and we started getting rid of English language in many aspects of educational and social fields. Although it still remains a compulsory subject in the public examinations upto degree level, yet a very high percentage of failure in this subject has led to a frequent protest from the public against the teaching of English as a compulsory subject.
Apart from sentimental considerations, either in favour or against English, the fact remains that the study of English is indispensable for any enlightened Pakistani young man who wants to reap the full benefits of practical life. In fact, English still retains a privileged position in Pakistan for the following reasons:–
Medium of International Communication
Today, English is considered as the most important and widely spoken language in the world. According to an estimate, more than half the world directly makes use of English.
Rapid means of transportation have conquered time and space, with the result that it takes very little time to reach various parts of the world. In the absence of an effective medium of global communication, the tourists and travelers themselves in great difficulty. Before some international medium of communication is evolved, English serves the purpose best.
Store of Knowledge
The knowledge has been rapidly increasing in the present age due to the work of scholars and scientists all over the world.
Most of them present the results of their research in English. Fresh knowledge in every field of life is constantly appearing in books and journals published in the English language. English has also great literature that is continuously expanding in quantity and quality. Besides, all the great books of the world have been translated into English. To be able to read these books is a valuable experience. It is also the language of the internet which is a store of knowledge.
Language of Higher Education
English is the language of higher education in Pakistan and for Pakistani students abroad. It is still the medium of instruction for the scientific and technical subjects. For professions like medicine, engineering, and agriculture, and in all branches of higher scientific work, knowledge of the English language is very essential.
Store of Standard Terminology
The standard terminology in all sciences and technology is available in English. If we translate them into the national language, new words will have to be coined which are not in actual use in the language and do not serve the purpose in the scientific world. The great scientific advance in the modern age is the result of a joint effort by all nations of the world.
We cannot effectively participate in this team-work unless we learn and use the standard terminology of physical and social sciences.
A Language of Commerce and Industry
International commerce and trade are vital for the survival of a nation. The industrialist countries import raw materials for their factories and export their finished products to other countries. In both cases, the exchange of commercial information is essential.
Industry in Pakistan can also benefit from the use of the latest methods of production and sale which are available in the English language. Without knowledge of the English language, it is almost impossible to take an effective part in the international commercial market.
Language of Diplomacy
English is used by our diplomats in foreign countries. Our delegates to various international conferences, conventions, and seminars express themselves in the English language. English is one of the official languages of the United Nations and its various organs and bodies. Without the sound command of the English language, we cannot effectively represent our country at international forums.
Means of Keeping Pace with Modern Developments
The knowledge of English is necessary for keeping pace with the latest developments in technical professions. Members of these professions must acquaint themselves with the modern developments in their respective fields in order to increase their professional abilities, for instance, doctors, engineers, and teachers have to remain in constant touch with the findings of the latest research carried out in their professions all over the world.
They also contribute to world knowledge by getting the results of their study and research published in the English language.