Regional language policy needed in technical education says IIT Kharagpur director

    Kolkata, Nov 28 (PTI) IIT Kharagpur Director Prof V K
Tewari on Saturday called for developing a policy framework
for regional language education not only at schools but also
in technical institutes so that language does not become a
barrier to learning.
    Adopting regional language in technical education is
"a necessary long-term goal", Tewari said in his official
Facebook page, lauding a decision of the Ministry of Education
in this regard.
    This requires teachers proficient in undertaking
classes in the vernacular medium along with English, textbooks
and reference materials in regional languages, besides
technological assistance such as audio translation aids like
those used in Indian Parliament, he said.
    It has been observed that the human mind is more
receptive to communication in the language in which it is
accustomed to thinking from childhood, he said adding that in
his four decades at IIT Kharagpur, initially as a student and
later as a faculty member, teaching and learning has entirely
been in English.
    "The practice, I would say, continues regardless of
the first language of the students and difficulties at their
end in adopting to English as the primary communication
language, thus disrupting the process of learning.
    "But when explained in regional languages, especially
mother tongue, grabbing the concepts or expression of the
ideas by the students becomes fairly easy," he said.
    This can be observed frequently in practical classes
and labs where lab instructors often form a close relationship
with students and communicate with them in the languages known
by them and even some teachers adopt this approach outside the
classroom, the academician said.
    "Now it is to be contemplated how such practice can be
institutionalized at IITs and NITs with a regionally diverse
student population," Tewari said.
    " the challenge of language as a barrier to the
learning process needs to be critically reviewed. This would
lead to the development of a policy framework for regional
language education not only at schools but in higher education
including technical education," he said.
    Regional language hubs set up at technical institutes
can bring together students requiring language aids, said the
IIT Kharagpur director.
    "Depending upon the composition of students from
various vernacular backgrounds or those facing a challenge in
English communication, and the availability of teachers with
regional language proficiency, these hubs can be structured,"
he said.
"Let us remind ourselves that Across the globe,
classroom teaching is pursued in a variety of regional
languages, be it France or Germany or Russia or a country like
China, which has over 300 languages and dialects with 8 of
them being the major ones," Tewari said. PTI SUS

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)