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21 September 2021: All India Council for Technology Education (AICTE) has made a decision to allow the colleges to offer engineering degree in regional languages. In the first stage, the courses will be offered in as many as five different languages i.e., Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali from the new academic year that is from 2020-21.

The AICTE is translating courses and creating online and offline content in 11 different languages. Significant progress is being made in implementing the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, and tune with one of its major recommendations, 14 engineering colleges across eight states shall impart technical education in five regional languages as discussed above. The main reason it stated was that no students should be discriminated against in higher education institutes due to their language preferences. The AICTE, however, also suggests that engineering students had shown an interest in studying in their mother tongues.

The members of the AICTE had earlier conducted a survey of the under-graduate students of the engineering department. It was conducted with a total of 83,195 students from across the country and nearly about half that is around 43.79% of students said that they want to study in regional languages. According to the AICTE survey, most of the students wanted to learn Tamil, Hindi and Telugu.

After the survey was done and responses visited, a committee was examining the feasibility of imparting technical education in the mother tongue. Headed by the prof. Mr. Prem Vrat, the committee recommended that options should be made available to students to study engineering courses in regional languages in NITs/ IITs and AICTE approved institutions.

This move, the minister said, will promote the country’s regional languages and “ensure that our aspiring youth can pursue technical education without worrying about language barriers.” English became the most preferred medium of instruction in all southern states except Karnataka, where more than half of school going children preferred Kannada as the medium of instruction, as per 2019-20 Unified District Information System (UDISE) released recently.

The education minister Pradhan said that “as knowledge becomes the driving force of the modern economy, it becomes imperative that we transfer our education ecosystem in tune with the 21st century. It is in this spirit that we now have the NEP 2020 with us. It helps in promoting the accessibility, affordability, equitability and quality education to all.”

“This vision document provides the nation with a road map for the future”, were his exact words. He further said, “We are making significant progress in implementation of the new National Education Policy 2020. With one of the major recommendations of the policy, 14 engineering colleges across 8 states shall be imparting technical education in 5 regional languages.” Further, as Indian moves towards the realization of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the country should ensure that creativity and innovation lead to inclusive and holistic growth of the people themselves belonging to the different strata of the society.

-Utkarsh Sinha

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