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Conduct JEE Main, Advanced in local languages, degree courses in English: IIT-Delhi director

"Offering entire BTech programmes in local languages would mean, the language will become a criterion in our faculty selections. This will be the beginning of the end for IITs. Our faculty selections need to be on a global scale," he wrote. 

iit delhi, IIT Delhi nrew building, COVID-19Director V Ramgopal Rao said that despite difficulties faced due to Covid-19, the institute filed 152 patents and closed 22 technology transfer deals with industries in 2020, which were “the highest numbers achieved in any calendar year since the inception of the institute”.

India can offer IIT entrance examinations – JEE Advanced and JEE Main — in the local languages, but having an entire degree course in mother tongue might be the beginning of the end of IITs, said IIT-Delhi director V Ramgopal Rao in a social media post.

“I strongly believe, every child who does schooling in local languages must have an opportunity to take JEE Main and JEE Advanced in their local language. JEE Advanced must be conducted in all local languages, where there is a demand. Once these students, who have had their schooling in local languages enter IITs, we must have ‘study help’ groups which will help these students to migrate to English over a period of time,” the IIT director wrote.

Recalling that he too has studied in Telugu medium until class 12 in a rural setting and made a career as a teacher and researcher, he wrote, “The earlier these students become conversant in English, the better it will be for them. We are producing global technologists, not technologists for Tamil Nadu, Andhra etc. We are also dealing with a huge aspirational generation. We must not confine their aspirations by tying them to one language or one mode of Instruction.”

On suggestions of teaching in the local language, he suggested that even though some first semester courses in specific IITs can be offered in at least one local language, depending on the choice of candidates themselves. But having a full-term degree in regional language will not be a good idea.

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“Offering entire BTech programmes in local languages would mean, the language will become a criterion in our faculty selections. This will be the beginning of the end for IITs. Our faculty selections need to be on a global scale,” he wrote.

“IIT education involves the integration of a lot of research and open study materials. Offering complete BTech and masters’ courses in local languages will deprive the students of a vast amount of resource material available in English. As said, by translating a few books to English, the problem can’t be solved,” he added.

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Debunking the commonly stated example of countries like Japan, Germany etc where education is imparted in the local language, he said, “These are homogenous societies (speaking one language mostly) and secondly, India cannot be equated with Germany or Japan. India is an entire Europe. Even in these homogeneous societies, many institutions have started moving to English now, seeing the disadvantages they are facing. They are learning from us.”

Read | IIT-Kharagpur director suggests language hubs, real-time translation aids for teaching in mother tongue

“Let’s take a resolve that no one is denied an opportunity because of language imposed barriers. Let’s work towards giving everyone an equal chance. Talent doesn’t come in any specific color, language, gender, religion, or geography. Talent is there everywhere in this country. It just needs a bit of hand-holding. One of the roles of IIT examinations needs to be to spot that talent and bring out the best in them,” he said.

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Meanwhile, the ministry has asked the IITs and NITs to set-up a task force which will take into consideration the suggestions made by various stakeholders and will submit a report in a month. Pokhriyal had announced that the ministry will shortlist IITs and NITs which will start imparting engineering courses in regional languages.

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First published on: 04-12-2020 at 04:26:55 pm
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