Tamil medium of instruction will be introduced in B.E. civil and mechanical courses at engineering colleges in Anna University from the coming academic year as an experimental measure. With this Tamil Nadu has become a pioneer in the country in providing engineering courses in the native language.

Replying to a discussion on demands pertaining to his Department, Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy said the Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education was engaged in preparing text books in Tamil for

these courses. For the convenience of students, under graduate engineering examination question papers would be in both English and Tamil and students would have the option to write answers either in Tamil or in English. These measures, the Minister said, would encourage Tamil medium students in higher secondary schools to join engineering colleges. Hereafter it would not be possible to obtain a degree in arts and science subjects without studying Tamil due to the introduction of choice based credit system. Tamil had to be taken as one subject in under graduate courses and a degree would be awarded only if students pass in Tamil.

In view of the demand for admission to polytechnic colleges, it had been proposed to start 8 new government polytechnic colleges in Dharmapuri, Karur, Perambalur, Theni, Thiruvarur,Thiruvannamalai,

Madurai and Villupuram districts.

For the benefit of students of one university in the State to apply for post graduate courses in other universities, the Minister said, the government had directed all universities, except the Anna

University, to complete their varsity examination schedule before April 15 of every year and declare the results by May 31 from the coming academic year.

Claiming that a silent revolution was taking place in higher education in Tamil Nadu, the Minister said there had been a steep increase in enrolment of students in higher education in the last four years. From 2.82 lakh students enrolled in the academic year 2005-06, the enrolment increased to 5.42 lakh students in 2009-10. This included students admitted to various arts, science, polytechnic and engineering colleges. The Government’s aim was to achieve the gross enrolment ratio of (GER) of 25 per cent by 2020.

Replying to S. Peter Alphonse’s (Cong) demand for action against deemed universities, which were collecting exorbitant fees and admitting students much above the prescribed standard, the Minister said the

State had no powers as they were all controlled by the University Grants Commission. Unless education was brought from the concurrent to State list it was not possible to take action against them.

The Anna University, Madurai, would start functioning from the coming academic year and engineering colleges in Madurai, Dindigul, Theni, Ramanathapuram and Sivaganaga districts would come under the

jurisdiction of the new university. Other announcements made by the Minister during the reply were a

science park in the name of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in Vellore at a cost of Rs. 298 lakh, development of infrastructural facilities in 19 Government colleges at a cost of 188.99 lakh, construction of additional laboratories at a cost of Rs. 200 lakh in 10 government colleges , construction of additional class rooms in government colleges, a world class auditorium in Madurai-Kamaraj University at a cost of Rs. 700 lakh, new library buildings in 18 government colleges costing Rs. 1,080 lakh.

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