Teaching technical courses in regional languages will pay off

M Chandra Shekar/K Sreshta Rebecca | Updated on October 08, 2021

The New Education Policy’s initiative to teach in regional languages will encourage individuals from marginalised sections to pursue higher education in technical specialisations

The New Education Policy (NEP) has replaced the age-old National Policy of Education (1986) with the motive to add a fresh tinge to the educational system in the country and is now in the process of devising plans to reform the whole system of education by 2040. Though debates rage about the new policy’s effectiveness, it is no doubt a good initiative by the Cabinet.

We are in a highly competitive world that requires our future generations to be on a par with those in developed economies. It is not easy for a developing country like India to implement such flexible policies, but this specific initiative is well appreciated. Initially, there has been strong opposition from certain institutes against teaching in regional languages. Nevertheless, despite the odds, the new policy has come into force post consultation with more than two lakh gram panchayats and 676 districts having considered the enforceability of this policy.

Many changes

NEP has made quite a few changes to the educational system by making it more flexible and open like the systems abroad. In addition, more emphasis is now being laid to impart technical education by merging it with the general higher education curriculum and designing a course that would help gain hands-on experience and help understand how, when and where these programming languages can be put to use in the technological era to build an automated environment. All of this will, in a way, help children decide on building their careers in this field.

All said and done, is NEP only beneficial for English medium students? Will the rest continue to compromise on taking up technical courses because of the language barrier? The answer is a “No”. What is interesting is that NEP 2020 has brought in a new ray of hope to all those aspirants who want to pursue their higher education in technical courses.

In line with NEP, 14 engineering colleges in the country have offered to teach in regional languages. Out of the 14 institutes, almost half of them are offering technical courses in Hindi. They include four institutes from UP, two from Rajasthan, one from Uttarakhand and one from MP. The rest in AP, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu offers courses in Telugu, Marathi, Bengali and Tamil.

Will help marginalised sections

AICTE has decided to offer engineering courses in one’s mother tongue as far as possible to foster effective teaching. This approach will be more helpful to the marginalised sections of society and provide them better employment opportunities, making them more self-reliant. Starting 2021, engineering courses will be offered in 11 languages (Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati, Malayalam and Bengali, Assamese, Punjabi and Oriya).

To start with, AICTE has granted permission for select branches of engineering. Most of them are for computer science engineering followed by electrical engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and information technology.

There might have been instances where technical teaching courses in regional languages have not turned out to be fruitful. However, the era that we are living in today has changed, and so are our interests and the resources available. It is no longer the same old diplomas or some random vocational course that one desires to opt for, but technical specialisations and to make a career in those areas.

Thanks to the digital resources available to the people, even in rural areas awareness about a wide range of career prospects is spreading. Adding to it, NEP will now help address this issue by no longer letting language be a barrier in any manner. People from non-English medium backgrounds can now take up any course they desire without a second thought or any kind of phobia about their ability to pursue the course that will help them make their way to the dream job.

Better understanding

There have been situations where we or our friends/teachers have given an example in our mother tongue to get a better understanding of a specific concept, and this has just made us more confident at it and has done no harm, and neither did it hamper our English-speaking skills. This is just that little push needed to bring out the best talent and not stop anybody from their desire to pursue higher education in technical specialisations just because they fail to understand a foreign language.

Agreed, English is the backbone and essence of every business. The only point is the good that teaching in regional languages can do. We all might have come across that one person at some point in time who can comprehend any complex code but cannot communicate in a specific language. NEP’s initiative to teach in regional languages will help up-skill such individuals and help eradicate unemployment to a certain extent by making a person more employable.

Lastly, most of us got comfortable ordering on Amazon when it introduced regional languages on its platform. When regional language can drive in such huge traffic on an e-commerce site created by a developer, how much more can an individual do by being fed with the necessary skills in his/her regional language.

Chandra Shekar is Assistant Professor, Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad, and Sreshta Rebecca is Management Trainee, HDFC Ltd, Hyderabad

Published on October 08, 2021

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