Language of Instruction for Teaching Mathematics at Primary Level: Controversy in Pakistan

Saira Maqbool, Mamoona Ghani, Saima Maqbool


One of the factors credited to the poor performance of students in
Pakistan is the medium of instruction used at primary level. More than
70 languages are alive languages/spoken languages of Pakistan and its
government is confused which language to select as MOI (medium of
instruction) at primary level, i.e. Urdu which is the national language of
Pakistan. This paper explores the MOI controversy in Pakistan it also
sought to explore the possibilities and effectiveness of using English
versus Urdu as a medium of instruction for the teaching of Mathematics
in primary schools in Pakistan. A teaching experiment was conducted to
compare the use of English as a medium of instruction with Urdu as
medium of instruction in the teaching and learning of Mathematics to
grade 3 class. t-test was applied to find of the difference of the progress
between two groups, one group taught in Urdu as MOI and second in
English as MOI. Major findings of the research indicated that the use of
Urdu as a medium of instruction in the teaching of Mathematics to
primary school students had a more positive impact upon the teaching of
Mathematics. This discussion contains language controversy from the
pre-partition time (1835-1947) till date in different political regimes to
understand the causes of disagreement upon the selection of a single
MOI in education. Applicable recommendations were made in the light
of the findings.

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