The idea is to impart basic knowledge about the language

All universities in the country may soon have centres offering certificate courses in spoken Sanskrit, if the University Grants Commission (UGC) has its way.

The UGC has suggested this idea to impart basic knowledge about the language among students, teachers, and the public.

Shrinivasa Varakhedi, Dean, Karnataka Samskrit University, who has been appointed to a three-member committee headed by the Secretary, Ministry for Human Resources Development, said students were not showing interest to learn the language. Lack of awareness about the importance of Sanskrit was one of the main reasons for this, he said.

Mr. Varakhedi said the committee had been asked to take up 22 schemes under the grant-in-aid programme to help fund non-governmental organisations, universities and other institutions.

Lecturers and teachers engaged in teaching and training people in Sanskrit; and those who run Sanskrit patashalas, conduct conferences, workshops, and research institutes too would be offered help.

The UGC had sanctioned Rs.100 crore two years ago for the scheme and this had been increased to cover more institutions. The committee was entrusted with the responsibility of identifying them and sanctioning funds.

Even teachers and employees of universities and affiliated colleges would benefit from the programme.

Duration of the course would be 25 hours over a period of a month. No fee would be charged.

Student strength

The maximum student strength could be 40, while minimum could be 30. The UGC would provide Rs. 2 lakh a year to every centre and has already sanctioned Rs. 1 crore.

Mr. Varakhedi said Bharatiya Vidwat Parishat, a private e-mail group of 2,000 members comprising vice-chancellors, professors, scholars and students across the country, was providing information sought by the second Sanskrit Commission chaired by Jnanpith awardee Satyavrat Shastri.

The commission has 13 members, including P. Ramanujan, Associate Director (Indian Heritage and Language Computing), C-DAC, Bangalore.

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