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UGC asks univs to allow students to write exams in local languages

Calls for list of textbooks, reference books and other study material available in local languages in each institution

University Grants Commission

Debarghya Sanyal New Delhi

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Vice chancellors of all private and public universities must let students write examinations in "local languages" even if the courses they offer are taught in English, said the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Wednesday.

A notice signed by M Jagadesh Kumar, chairman of UGC, which regulates higher education in India, said universities should “promote translation of original writing in local languages and use local language in the teaching-learning process at universities.”
Referring to the 2020 National Education Policy or NEP’, Kumar said higher educational institutes in all states must encourage teaching and learning in local languages.

The notice listed strategies for achieving the two targets. It calls for a discipline-wise list of textbooks, reference books and other study material available in local languages in each institution and university to be submitted to the UGC.

The notice also asked university vice chancellors to submit discipline-wise lists of topics or courses for which textbooks must be written or translated into local languages. It also asked for the names of faculty members and scholars who can write or translate textbooks into local languages.

A note on the availability of local publishers for printing textbooks in local languages, discussion on plans on bringing study material in local languages as well as a whether the university’s current provisions on letting students write answers in local languages, are also to be compiled in a single excel-sheet and uploaded via Google forms.

A senior faculty member at the University of Delhi, who did not wish to be named, said that while the central government's commitment to promoting regional and local languages is commendable, "the decision to allow students to attempt papers in vernacular languages even when the course medium is English, will take away a student's motivation to learn and master the English language, which is the lingua franca in today's globalized job market."

She said that a better solution would be introducing a mandatory local language course across science and humanities. Such a plan will allow students to strengthen command over local languages but without hampering their fluency in English.

Voices of Concern

 
The aim of promoting local languages is good. Vision is lofty but the question papers should also be set in regional languages. Answers in local languages will create problem for examiners. How will their segregation be handled? 
 
Shalini S Sharma, 
Assistant Secretary General, 
PHD Chamber of Commerce 
and Industry
 

India’s strength is in its English language education. While we must ensure that students who study in their local languages aren’t left behind, moves such as these are taking matters to the other extreme... There will be total chaos if students start exercising this option as a right 
 
A senior academician 

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First Published: Apr 19 2023 | 6:19 PM IST

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