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Offering entire B-Tech programmes in local language will be the beginning of end of IITs

Protesting IIT Bombay students say there is an increase of 300% in hostel rent, 167% in the gymkhana fees, 100% in exam, registration and medical fees, and 30-50% increase in other charges. Photo: Hindustan TimesPremium
Protesting IIT Bombay students say there is an increase of 300% in hostel rent, 167% in the gymkhana fees, 100% in exam, registration and medical fees, and 30-50% increase in other charges. Photo: Hindustan Times

  • Our faculty selections need to be on a global scale, IIT Delhi director wrote in his 'personal capacity' in a social media post, amid a debate about the local language teaching in IITs

NEW DELHI : Offering entire B.Tech programmes in local languages would mean, language will become a criterion in our faculty selections. This will be the beginning of end for IITs. Our faculty selections need to be on a global scale, IIT Delhi director wrote in his “personal capacity" in a social media post, amid a debate about the local language teaching in IITs.

“We are producing global technologists, not technologists for Tamilnadu, 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," he wrote.

Here is the entire post of IIT Delhi director V. Ramgopal Rao:

"I keep hearing these following arguments for offering IIT education in local languages. I am someone who has studied in Telugu medium until 12th standard in a rural setting and made a career as a teacher and researcher. Here are my personal views. I am willing to learn.

1. It is said that Japan, Germany etc. have become developed countries because people in those countries study in their local languages. First of all these are homogenous societies (speaking one language mostly) and secondly, India cannot be equated with Germany or Japan. India is 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. Not sure if there is an equivalent of India in the world. India is Europe, roughly in terms of languages or land area.

2. One of our problems is that, we have never connected our institutions and never engaged them to solve problems of the society/country. Laxmi and Saraswati have always been kept separate in our culture. Lot of knowledge generation is happening in our institutions but conversion of knowledge to wealth is sorely lacking. The same graduates coming out of our institutions have performed well in other countries and have built ISRO, DAE and DRDO, which have made the country proud. So it's the overall system in the country to blame for our plight and not our educational institutions or Instruction in English. Multidisciplinary institutions and autonomy, as articulated in NEP, are the need of the hour.

3. This same country has produced C V Ramans, J C Boses, Meghanad Sahas earlier. We have also produced institution builders such as Bhabhas, Ramannas and Bhatnagars. Why aren't we producing people of this calibre right now? Evolution wise, people are only becoming better. We have brought in so much of bureaucracy into our systems and almost all leadership and Innovation gets scuttled at every stage. NEP has proposed solutions for this. What we could do administratively 40 years ago in our institutions, we are not able to do that any more right now. NEP has answers.

4. 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.

5. 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 earlier these students become conversant in English, the better it will be for them. We are producing global technologists, not technologists for Tamilnadu, 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.

6. Some first semester courses in specific IITs can be offered in at least one local language, depending on the choice of candidates themselves. IIT Delhi can take up Hindi, for example.

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

8. IIT education involves 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.

9. Let's free up our educational institutions from bureaucratic controls and let's create competition among them by also providing them autonomy. Autonomy and Competition need to go hand in hand. Let's convert our institutions to Multi-disciplinary institutions and let's challenge them to solve problems of the society. There is so much of talent in our institutions which is all getting wasted.

10. As a nation, as part of NEP implementation, let's take a resolve that no one is denied an opportunity because of langugage imposed barriers. Let's work towards giving every one an equal chance. Talent doesn't come in any specific color, language, gender, religion or geography. Talent is there every where 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."

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