Raising Bilingual kids in Pakistan
It can be a tough gig to raise kids in Pakistan and make language decisions in this climate. English is a necessary tool in this day and age. But with more and more focus on English, many are unable to get a good grasp on our native languages, especially Urdu. How should we raise bilingual kids?
But it doesn’t end there. People are also concerned about how CPEC is stepping in and growing. Many predict that in a couple of decades, Mandarin will be a needed medium of communication. So we reached out to parents to ask what languages they’re giving priority, and why.
Ismail Wasi, who has spoken with us in the past, is raising a son and daughter, both under 5 years of age. His older child is attending an English school which also has optional classes on Mandarin. “The chinese will be taking over the region tremendously by the time my kids are old enough.”
We asked him whether they prioritized Urdu or English in their home.
“Subliminally English is a priority since everyone otherwise around us will be speaking in Urdu anyways, the kids will learn it. However, consciously, we try and divide by parent. I speak to the kids in English, and my wife in Urdu.”
Anum Kausar, mother of three boys from ages 7 to 14, believes English should definitely be the priority.
“it’s key that my children learn English. It holds too much importance in life these days. Out official language is English, and it’s used in almost all professional settings. Most places you go, English seems to be the one language everyone can work with.
“But Urdu holds a lot of cultural significance. My children should know their roots and be able to admire the beauty of our language.”
There is absolutely no denying that Urdu is a breathtakingly beautiful language with powerful expression. English can’t even come close. But it does seem that English is an important language to know in the professional world, and for general ease of communication.
What are your thoughts on prioritizing languages?