New Delhi: After introducing engineering courses in regional languages in some colleges in India, the central government is now keen to offer other technical courses such as management as well as non-technical courses, in regional languages, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) Chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe told ThePrint in an interview.
Starting with the 2021-22 academic session, 13 colleges across the country recognised by AICTE will offer engineering courses in five regional languages — Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Hindi. Mechanical, civil, computer science and information technology courses will be offered in these languages.
Education in the mother tongue has also been advocated in the new National Education Policy. The Narendra Modi government is keen to implement the idea right from primary school level up to universities.
AICTE has initiated the process by implementing it in colleges under their purview.
“We have been working on designing engineering courses in regional languages for the last three years, but when NEP also advocated it, we saw the scope of teaching full-fledged courses in regional languages and not simply designing select modules in a particular language,” Sahasrabudhe said.
“In future, other technical courses that are with us and even non-technical courses will also be available in regional languages. The government is working towards it, a central committee, that includes secretary higher education, is working towards it,” he added.
He said the government will ensure that the quality of education is maintained by selecting only colleges that run courses accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) to offer regional language courses, and students who want to join the courses will also be selected through a rigorous process of entrance exam like other students.
“People should not think that we will select substandard colleges to offer these programmes because they are in regional languages. Even students will have to go through the usual route of JEE and state selection exams to get admission,” Sahasrabuddhe added.
The push for mother tongues
Joint Entrance Exam (JEE), which is the gateway to admission in various engineering colleges in India, will also be held in 13 regional languages from this year, thus facilitating education in the mother tongue for many students. The government has decided to conduct JEE Mains in four phases this year, the first three phases are already over and the fourth phase is likely to be held towards the end of August.
Talking about the syllabus for these courses, he said that none of the scientific words will be translated into any regional language. For example “resistance” in electrical engineering will remain “resistance” and not be translated into any other language.
“Scientific terms are strictly not to be translated in any other language because they are scientific terms and not English,” he said.
The council has also prepared teaching material in the five languages in which courses will be offered currently.
Last year, the council had conducted a survey among existing engineering students to gauge the level of interest in pursuing engineering in regional languages. The survey found that 44 per cent of engineering students wanted to be taught in their mother tongue and Tamil was on the top of the preferred language list.
Talking about the survey, Sahasrabudde said, “The survey gave us an idea that students are interested in learning in their mother tongue. The actual response, however, will only be known once students enroll this year.”
As of now, AICTE has said that the new session in technical colleges will start in October.
The survey ‘Undergraduate Engineering Education in Mother Tongue’ was conducted in February last year, among 83,000 students in colleges affiliated to the AICTE.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)