The State government has made a strong plea to the Central government to move education from the Concurrent List to the State List. The objective is to orient the education policy towards the goal of achieving social justice by removing disparities in the quality of education available to the rich and the poor, according to Minister for Higher Education K. Ponmudy, who is also Pro-Chancellor of Thiruvalluvar University.

Speaking at the 5th annual convocation of Thiruvalluvar University here on Monday, Mr. Ponmudy said Activity-Based Learning was introduced by the State government in elementary schools with the objective of removing the disparities. Tamil Nadu was the first State to start a university exclusively for teacher education.

Stressing the need for introducing mother tongue as the medium of instruction at all levels, the Minister said only that country which taught the students through their mother tongue developed in all fields. This was because the students would understand the subjects thoroughly only when taught in the mother tongue. Even after globalisation, China has continued Chinese as the medium of instruction in all educational institutions. It taught English to its students only as a link language.

English can be taught as a link language even in India. But the syllabus for the English language has to be changed in order to impart English communication skills to the students rather than mere knowledge of literature.

The two-language formula introduced by former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai was aimed at enabling students to learn the regional language and English as a link language properly. “Those who study through the English medium today manage to pass the subjects only by memorising the lessons, without a proper understanding of the subjects. It is in this context that he aired his views in support of introducing engineering education in Tamil,” Mr. Ponmudy said.

Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, Chancellor of Thiruvalluvar University, presided over the convocation and distributed degree certificates to the rank-holders and Ph.D. candidates.

He administered the pledge to the new graduates.

R. Poornalingam, former Secretary to Union government, who delivered the convocation address, said the present-day graduates would have greater career opportunities in the years to come as India moved up the economic ladder.

Experts have predicted that India would attain third position in the world in economic status, next to the U.S. and China, in 2025.

The economy of the country is expected to grow by 9 to 10 per cent every year as against the economic development of western countries, which would be only 1 to 2 per cent. The per capita income of India has trebled from $1,178 in 1980 to $3,051 in 2005. “Your growth depends on how you utilise these opportunities. You should work hard to make use of the emerging opportunities,” he told the graduates.

Vice-Chancellor A. Jothi Murugan said departments of Tamil, English, marine science, biotechnology, mathematics, chemistry and Ambedkar Studies and the Anna and Thiruvalluvar Chairs would be established at Thiruvalluvar University in the next academic year.

The new building under construction at a cost of Rs.16.70 crore on the 112.68 acres of land in Serkadu is expected to be completed before April, and the university would function from the new building in the next academic year, he said.

A total of 18,122 candidates received their degree certificates at the convocation. This comprised 15,976 undergraduate, 1,939 postgraduate, nine Ph.D. and 198 M.Phil. candidates.