In India, teaching and learning have largely been in foreign languages whereas Indian languages have never got the much deserving importance in the field. However,the National Education Policy, 2020 (NEP, 2020) has emphasized the use of regional languages for instruction at the primary and higher education levels.
With regard to this, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has granted permission to 14 colleges acrossthe country to offerselect engineering coursesin 11 regional languages including Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati, Malayalam, Assamese, Punjabi and Oriya. The unavoidable question here is whether it is practical to precipitate a regional-medium shift in higher education, especially in the face of a largely dysfunctional public education system.
Shift in Hiring Paradigm: The decision to promote regional language in tertiary education will interfere with the hiring decisions ofthe premierinstitutions as they will be forced to consider language proficiency as a primary criteria as opposed to subject matter expertise.
Insignificant for Institutions with Pan-India Admissions: A regional language focus is not meaningful in a scenario where the institutes see entrants from across the country such as IITs.
Availability of Quality Material in Regional Languages: Another challenge is the availability of study material such as textbooks and scholarly literature. Also, quality control of these translations will be of utmostimportance to keep semantic irregularities at bay.
Placement Associated Challenge: Many public sector units accept Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) scores for entry-level positions, which is conducted in English medium.
Availability of Faculty: Given the English-medium legacy of higher education in India, attracting and retaining quality teachers who are willing and able to teach in regional languages will be a challenge.
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