Sen rightly criticised SP on their manifesto to ban English in UP. Shouldn’t Professor Sen extend the arguments he used to defend teaching of English to also support school choice for the poor? Just replace English with private schools, you see the logical conclusion that follows:

There is an elite which is much more familiar with English, which is not the case with many other people,” he said, but added that the way to eradicate such divisions was to bring more people into education, including English education, rather than ban the use of the language.

“That’s an argument why others who are excluded from it ought to have the opportunity to do it (learn English),” said Sen, who is an expert in public policy issues and has long criticised Indian politicians for not giving elementary education the same priority as higher education.

Sen said English had become the language of currency in many areas of life – from Internet surfing to job hunting.

“Now, one way of excluding people from doing English is to keep the division between the English-speaking haves and the non-English speaking have-nots.

“So rather than being an egalitarian force, the exclusion – if it is carried out – will have exactly the opposite effect: that is to keep the stratification as it is. Because obviously Mulayam Singh Yadav will not be able to prevent people from doing English in India as the language of commerce, industry, rule of law and public use.”

Professor Sen should support school vouchers, don’t you agree?

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The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CCS.