ISLAMABAD: Despite popular belief, there was no ‘fatwa’ which barred the Muslims of united India to study the English language during Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s time.
This was stated by eminent educationist Dr Tariq Rehman as the first-ever national conference on the latest trends in English and Literature opened at the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) on Friday. The two-day event has been organised by the university’s Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission.
Dr Rehman deliberated on the history of the English language and various phases of its development.
He stated that Muslim leaders such as Sir Syed Ahmed Khan were on the forefront of introducing English in the sub-continent. He dispelled the impression that any ‘fatwa’ was issued at that time against learning English.
With a passage of time, he explained, the English language became a major source of learning and became popular among the middle class as well.
“It [English language grew as a linguistic capital and met the society’s needs for coming at par with developed countries,” Dr Rehman said.
Addressing the opening session of the conference, AIOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Shahid Siddiqui said that the varsity would adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to develop the language, in qualitative and quantitative ways.
The teaching community, Dr Siddiqui asserted, should re-position itself to familiarise students with new trends in the language, focusing on theoretical aspects.
Adopting an inter-disciplinary approach is imperative to meet the growing challenges in the education sector, he added.
The AIOU vice chancellor further stated that English, which was considered as the language of elites, should also be promoted among other sections of the society to meet its needs and overcome the knowledge gap.
He announced that the department would publish a special journal on the subject year to provide academic support to teachers of the English language. He also called for expanding the boundaries of the language’s themes for its proper understanding.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2017.
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