Taking higher education to the grassroots

Why it is important to offer college and university programmes in regional languages

July 22, 2021 02:29 pm | Updated 02:29 pm IST

Offering higher education programmes in regional languages will equip students to solve local problems with a global mindset

Offering higher education programmes in regional languages will equip students to solve local problems with a global mindset

While education has always bridged the gap between the haves and have-nots, the lack of programmes in regional languages, especially in higher education, has made it difficult for many to continue with their education. While the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has stressed the use of regional languages in higher education, the question of which programmes can be efficiently designed remains. Diversified education can offer students a major boost, no matter which language they are studying in.

Myths busted

Studying in the regional language does not mean that students will be deprived of technical expertise. Curriculum for STEM programmes can be developed so that a scientific temper is promoted. While it may not be possible to translate technical terms verbatim in the regional languages, a hybrid approach can be developed. This will enable a local-global integration with latest knowledge and technology and give students global exposure and expertise.

In the NEP 2020, The government has urged universities to create study material in regional languages to enhance students’ understanding and empower them. Another pertinent aspect is skill development that needs to go along with higher education. No matter which language is used, students should be encouraged to develop those skills that will help them grow holistically.

If higher education programmes are offered in regional languages, there is no doubt that student enrollment will increase exponentially. Will our colleges and universities be able to accommodate the numbers with the existing infrastructure (not just in terms of physical campuses but also digital assistance)? The answer is that existing institutions will have to expand and enhance their phygital infrastructure and also ensure the faculty are both well-equipped and qualified.. To make programmes in regional languages functional and useful, institutions will have to substantially improve and improvise.

Offering higher education programmes in regional languages will equip students to solve local problems with a global mindset. By giving importance to our languages, we can at least diminish the gap between the English-speaking population and those who speak in their mother tongues. Finally, when combined with skill development, this will help develop professionals who can transform the country from the grassroots.

The writer is Executive Vice President, AISECT Group.

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