Currently, engineering and medicine is taught predominantly in the English language across public and private institutes. According to sources, the education ministry held a meeting on October 29 on the issue. It was felt the first effort should be made at IIT BHU, which has a strong tradition in the Hindi language. It was felt that faculty there would be better placed than its counterparts elsewhere to make the switch faster.
Further, discussions with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will also be held to encourage the use of mother tongue as an alternative to the English language. RSS, the ruling BJP’s ideological guide, has also put its weight behind the plan, it is learnt. The move towards mother tongue follows PM Modi’s statement during an election campaign in Sasaram in Bihar. “Bihar has a glorious history in education. Inspired by the National Education Policy, there will now be an attempt to teach all technical courses, including medical and engineering, in mother tongue,” PM Modi had said in his October 23 address, which he opened in the Bhojpuri language.
Recently, Ramesh Pokhriyal-led education ministry had announced that the JEE Main, which determines admissions to engineering colleges, will be conducted in 22 regional languages. It is so far conducted in English, Hindi and Gujarati. However, it was found that once JEE was allowed in the Gujarati language, a higher number of Gujarati speaking students cleared the exam. It is hoped that the Centre’s move would help those who have done their schooling in their mother tongue.
The National Education Policy 2020 has strongly advocated a shift to mother tongue, right from the primary level of school. NEP says that “for languages to remain relevant and vibrant, there must be a steady stream of high-quality learning and print materials in these languages. Languages must also have consistent official updates to their vocabularies and dictionaries”. NEP also advocates offering courses in regional languages.