AICTE has earmarked a budget of Rs 18.6 crores for developing the second-year course material in English and its translation into 12 Indian languages.

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The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is on a gigantic mission to make technical courses available in non-English languages in order to make engineering accessible to students of all Indian languages. On July 15, 2022, the AICTE held a one-day conference at its New Delhi offices on “Implementing National Education Policy (NEP) 2020: Facilitating Engineering Education in Indian Languages.”

In order to raise awareness of technical education in Indian languages, the conclave aimed to promote interactions with vice-chancellors of technical universities, directors of National Institutes of Technology (NITs), and professional organisations like the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE). The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the AICTE share the goal of ensuring that all major indigenous language speakers have access to engineering.

“Language is a great tool for reaching the last person standing and empowering pupils to learn more effectively in their own tongue. Learning should not be hindered by a language barrier. For the second and subsequent engineering years, we are stepping up our translation and writing in Indian languages after the first year. The variety of disciplines and the addition of electives make it even more rigorous, according to AICTE Chairman Anil D. Sahasrabudhe. For the creation of the second-year course materials in English and their translation into 12 Indian languages, AICTE has set aside a budget of Rs 18.6 crores.

Simultaneously, on the academic front, 40 institutions from ten states—Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal—have expressed interest in beginning engineering education in one or more disciplines in six Indian languages—Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu—with a total intake capacity of 2,070 students in 2022–23

The opinions of prominent figures in education were presented in three expert panel discussions on topics including I the origins and significance of education in the mother tongue, (ii) the role of universities, state technical education departments, and regulatory bodies in facilitating the delivery of technical education in Indian languages, and (iii) the future road map for making outcome-based education available in Indian languages.

Panellists for the programme included vice-chancellors, directors, and professors from a number of universities, including IGNOU, IIT Kanpur, NIT Nagaland, Gujarat Technological University, and IIITDM Jabalpur. The colloquium also honoured important individuals from many states who helped AICTE translate engineering publications into Indian languages. Students taking computer science and engineering courses in Indian languages including Marathi, Telugu, and Hindi during the programme also provided feedback, highlighting the simplicity of study and learning ideas and terminology.

“Education and language are strongly related. Both language and education are discussed in NEP 2020. We must support a child’s ability to learn in their native tongue. Additionally, we have trained 50,000 educators in recent years in universal human values who go above and beyond the curriculum to teach the fundamentals of humanity and culture, according to MP Poonia, AICTE Vice-Chairman.

In order to decentralise the availability of study material in merely English, it is noteworthy that AICTE has started technical education in Indian languages in the years 2021–2022. There were 255 students registered in about 20 colleges that had started undergraduate and diploma programmes in Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, and Marathi throughout ten states.

“Digital tools can speed up and scale up translation projects, but human thought is still required to check the translations for accuracy. To review them, we must train educators and principals. The usage of local languages rather than English contributes 90% of our GDP. We must instruct through language rather than merely teaching it. Through language, we must resurrect historic knowledge systems and our Indian roots. The High Powered Committee for the Promotion of Indian Languages’ Chairman, Chamu Krishna Shastry, remarked, “I strongly applaud this move by AICTE.

The main barrier to studying engineering in one’s native tongue is the lack of course materials in Indian languages. To overcome this obstacle, we have started to write original books and translate existing ones. According to Rajive Kumar, Member Secretary, AICTE, “technical book writing and translation in 12 scheduled Indian languages—Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Kannada, Punjabi, Odia, Assamese, Urdu, and Malayalam—have been introduced to provide the course material for engineering in Indian Languages.

Mayank Tewari

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