Err.. Ravi, correction.
In ISCE and ISC systems, people study a second language for only 8 years
minimum, unless the school chooses to have it in 1st and 2nd.
I personally opted to study Hindi as a second one [NOT in TN] for 10yrs in
In ISC, only English is compulsory, same for CBSE in the +1 and +2 stages.
ONLY State Boards, across the country make it mandatory for a second
language for all 12yrs.

On Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 3:57 PM, Ravishankar <> wrote:

> Hi All,
> What many of us are sharing here are personal experiences, anecdotes from
> one section of the community pyramid that Gerard mentioned. This can only
> lead to inaccurate inferences about Indic languages. So, let's do some
> objective analysis:
> Based on , India's
> literacy rate is 74.04% in 2011.
> As I have no practical experience of education systems in other states,
> let me take the example of Tamilnadu which has a literacy rate of 80.3%.
> The 19.7% illiteracy rate is a social issue and let's ignore it for this
> analysis. This example can very well be related with other states and India
> as a whole.
> Tamilnadu had three educations systems mainly:
> * *State board ( Majority of the students are enrolled in this and most
> pursue education through Tamil as a medium of instruction*. *Even for
> English medium students, learning Tamil as a language is mandatory for 10+2
> years* ). Most of the government schools and government aided schools
> fall under this category. You can refer
> for the number of schools in
> Tamilnadu operating under government, government aid and private sector.
> Except for few cities, government schools are the majority.
> * Matriculation, ICSE and other boards ( Medium of instruction is English
> but most study Tamil as a language for 10+2 years). From this year, this
> system is abolished and merged with state board's uniform syllabus.
> * CBSE - Only a minority of schools are in this system. Medium of
> instruction is English and a good number of people do study Tamil as a
> language for 10 years.
> So, all these people can read, write, understand and speak Tamil and are
> functionally literate in their mother languages. Even if you assume that
> some studied other languages instead of Tamil in matriculation or CBSE
> syllabus, it is still a minority and can't exceed 10% by any means.
> *
> If you take the case of Srilanka, where Tamil is also an official
> language, 99% of the native Tamils complete their study in government
> schools with Tamil as their medium of instruction. So, they are almost 100%
> literate in their mother languages. *
> I am sure that similar trends and statistics can be observed for other
> Indic languages.
> Ashwin,
> Thanks for the
>  As you can see from the stats above, I do refute the central point
> here as it is totally wrong. Being offended by it is my personal expression
> and doesn't lack civility or make judgments about the one who posted the
> inferences. If we do not raise our concern for valid issues, India will
> continue to be seen as a country of snake charmers.
> Shiju,
> I am aware that mother language illiteracy is a raising problem in Indian
> cities. But, as Bala said it is a social problem and out of Wikimedia's
> mission. *Indic language projects are for the people and by the people
> who primarily gain and share knowledge in those languages* and their
> percentage is huge. Gaining readership / contribution from the minority
> English comfortable audience should not be a priority and it will not be
> worth the effort.
> The problem mentioned by many Indic language Wikipedians is a bit
> different. Since, many of the present day internet accessing Wikipedians do
> have a city / middle class / English educated background, they are at loss
> to write about different subjects in an encyclopedic quality. But, that
> doesn't mean that they are proficient in English writing either as you can
> witness from IEP. This is something to do with the quality and policy of
> higher education in our country. But, this doesn't mean by anyway that
> Indians are functionally illiterate in their own languages to the extend of
> not knowing to read and write.
> Gerard,
> Here are some scenarios:
> * People who know English and an Indic language well, know about Indic
> language projects and still contribute in only one language. Nothing much
> can be done to motivate them to switch the contributions. If they decide to
> do it by themselves, it is huge WIN.
> * People who know English and an Indic language well but do not know about
> Indic language projects. It should be our highest priority to spread
> awareness about Indic language projects to these people because they can
> bring great experience from English Wikipedia. We do have the privilege of
> having few contributors like them and their roles are phenomenal in shaping
> the community.
> * People who know only the Indic languages very well but do not know about
> Wikipedia. It should also be our highest priority to spread awareness about
> Wikipedia to these people. The moment they know that such a thing exists,
> they will jump on it because people are so hungry for knowledge in their
> own language. If you would like to know how we know this: We did a 3 day
> long Tamil Internet workshop practically for thousands of people during a
> language conference last year. People were so happy to know that they could
> read, write, search in their own languages.
> * People who know English only and contribute in En Wiki or MediaWiki. It
> is good to be in touch with them to share best practices, technical
> knowledge but do not expect content contributions from them. Even people
> who learned Indic languages for 10+ years in schools are finding
> WP:COMPETENCE to be of very high standard.
> //*One of the reasons why these people are so relevant to me is that they
> are part of the top of the pyramid that is our communities. They are the
> people who work on our technology. We need people who are technically
> capable and interested in working on MediaWiki. We need them as part of our
> language communities because their effort has the ability to enable so many
> more people. We need people to work on our fonts, our keyboard methods,
> automatic transliteration ....//
> *Most of the early contributors to Indic language projects have a
> background in software / tech industry and are fairly competent to take
> part in RFC, Bugzilla. So, you should have no problem reaching out to
> respective communities in their village pumps to ask for their inputs.
> Ultimately, it is only the community that is going to use it so better ask
> it in advance. Also, please do not be of the opinion that a mere capability
> to read and write by self learning is enough to decide on languages. Indic
> language scripts and their grammar can be very complex and any tool
> designed without understanding this will create problems. (Example: Unicode
> problems in Malayalam, Tamil ) So, as Bala suggested you do need to
> identify capable partners from language side. To start with the community
> is a good start.
> Regarding Grantha script, here is a long story short:
> Many world languages had their own script first but many have converted to
> Roman script now.
> Many Indic languages had their own script. But now most of them have
> adopted Devanagari script.
> Tamil belongs to Dravidian family of languages which is very different
> from Devanagari. So, the ancient Tamils used the Grantha script to write
> Sanskrit. Grantha script has most of the sounds of Tamil but not all.
> The recent Unicode proposal improvised the existing Grantha script to
> include more characters that represent Tamil sound. The real intention as
> expressed by the proposal was to use Grantha script to write both Grantha
> and Tamil together which will in long term make sure that Tamil script is
> lost and project Tamil as a subset of Grantha and in effect Indo European
> language. Not only was this malicious but it was against the fundamental
> grammar of both the languages. It is this proposal that has been held.
> Tamils are not opposing Grantha being encoded in Unicode as it is with the
> original characters.
> If you need more clarification on this, we can discuss outside the list.
> Thanks,
> Ravi
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Srikanth Ramakrishnan.
Wikipedia Coimbatore Meetup on December 10th.
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