In a multi-lingual country like India language is relevant not only as a means of communication or a medium of instruction but also as a determinant of access. Increasingly an understanding of, and a command over the English language, is perhaps becoming the most important determinant of access to higher education, employment possibilities and social opportunities. School leavers who are not adequately trained in English as a language are always at a handicap in the world of higher education. And those who do not know English well enough, find it exceedingly difficult to compete for a place in our premier educational institutions. This disadvantage is accentuated further in the world of work, not only in professional occupations but also in white-collar occupations.
In this context the National Knowledge Commission engaged in informal consultations on this subject with a wide range of people in government, academia, media and industry, including Chief Ministers of States, Members of Parliament, people in professions such as medicine and law and civil society organizations. The Commission also constituted a Working Group in order to work out the modalities of English language teaching at all levels of education. Based on the report of the working group and wider consultations, the Commission has now submitted its recommendations on the subject. Its recommendations broadly relate to level of introduction of English, pedagogy, relevant textbooks, teacher training, adequate resource support (in terms of teachers and material), and use of ICT in language learning.