This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Saumya Arora. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

LSR Has A Glaring Language Bias In Its Classrooms

More from Saumya Arora

Lady Shri Ram College for Women is one of the premier institutions in India. It boasts of good infrastructure, excellent academics, and notable alumni. It looks like a happy place from the outside, but a closer look and you start seeing some craters.

LSR largely conducts classes in English. Even in the Academic Transcripts are given to students, it is written that the medium of instruction for the course is English. While the teachers are aware that there are Hindi-medium students in their classes, four out of the five students I spoke to said a limited effort is made on their behalf to recognise the students’ needs. Shreya*, a third-year Hindi-medium student confirms, “Class mein bhaut dhyaan laga ke thoda bhaut samajh aata hai. Par agar ma’am question pooch lein toh bol nahi paate kuchh. (I understand a bit of what is happening in the class with great difficulty. But if the teacher asks me a question, I’m unable to answer).”

An undergraduate student has three to five readings per topic in her/his syllabus. For the entire syllabus, up to two huge binders are made by the department, which they have to study for the entire semester. Hindi-medium students get at most a book for their reference, which doesn’t cover all topics. Diya*, a third-year student of Political Science shares her experience, “Library mein badi mushkil se 2-3 books milti hain. Uske ailava humein baith ke English ke texts khud translate karne padte hain. (There are hardly 2-3 books in the library in Hindi. Other than that, we have to sit and translate the texts in Hindi ourselves).”

Missing the classes and taking private tuitions in Hindi is not an option, because attendance holds marks, and a minimum percentage is required to appear in exams. With at least five lectures and one tutorial happening per day, they sit in classes for 30 hours a week. It’s not justified to compel these students to invest more time and energy to take private tuition. A faculty member remarks, “Language is certainly an issue in the college. Texts need to be translated properly, and a journal of these texts should be preserved, so that time is not wasted each year doing the same essential activity. I have myself corrected papers in Hindi, being an English-medium teacher. Proper infrastructure needs to be built to address this issue.”

The average grade point of a course is roughly a seven, while all the Hindi-medium students I spoke to had a grade point of a five or less. Their internal marks suffer too because of lack of literature for them to write papers and assignments. It is also important to highlight that many students used to score well in their schools. Menka* says, “Engineering mein ho gaya tha admission, lekin maine ye 10th mein padha tha aur mujhe accha lagta tha, toh main vo chhor ke yahan aa gayi. (I got admission in an engineering college, but I had studied this subject in 10th grade, so I left engineering and came to this college).” However, her marks too dropped since she started her course.

Lectures do need to happen in English, because many students come to the university from across the country, like from Bengal, Chennai, Mizoram etc. and they might not have a good hand over Hindi. However, if these students are admitted to a college under the assurance that their medium of giving the exam will be Hindi, they need to be provided with an adequate facility for the same.
An academic plan needs to be designed keeping in mind the needs of these students. A possible solution is that in every lecture, the teachers can spare ten minutes, in the end, to quickly summarise in Hindi what she/he taught.

Thankfully, LSR’s Student’s Union 2017-2018 has made an effort to resolve this issue. A translation committee has been set up to help the concerned students. It aims to make updates (like those on WhatsApp class groups which are usually only in English), opportunities and study materials more accessible to the student body by tackling the linguistic barriers. Attempts to counter this problem can be seen and are appreciated. While the committee has solved one problem, here’s hoping that the college will make more efforts in the future for the same. Baby steps like these will help these Hindi-medium students overcome their plight in the current system.

*Names have been changed

You must be to comment.

More from Saumya Arora

Similar Posts

By Imran Hasib

By Meemansa Narula

By Harshita Solanki

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below