No takers for Kannada engineering courses for third year in row in Karnataka

The lone student who had initially shown interest in taking up Kannada medium course later withdrew

October 13, 2023 01:17 pm | Updated 02:48 pm IST - Bengaluru

A file photo of students writing the entrance test for admission to professional courses in Karnataka.

A file photo of students writing the entrance test for admission to professional courses in Karnataka. | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

It was with much fanfare that the previous BJP government in Karnataka opened up the option of Kannada medium in engineering courses — Civil and Mechanical — after introducing National Education Policy (NEP 2020) in higher education. But not a single student has opted for it so far.

This year, one student had opted for Kannada-medium Civil Engineering course at SJC Institute of Technology, Chikkaballapura, in the Common Entrance Test (CET-2023) counselling conducted by the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA). But finally, he withdrew and joined a English-medium course.

In the first and second round of CET counselling, none had opted for Kannada course. But in the mop-up round, S. Manoj, a candidate from Chitradurga, opted for a course in Kannada medium. But later, he withdrew.

“I realised that I was the only the student opting for Kannada medium, and was no longer sure. Also, the college was far away from my native place. Therefore, I withdrew and joined a regular engineering course in Davangere, which is closer home,” Manoj told The Hindu.

It was a similar story in 2022-23 when one student had opted for Kannada-medium civil engineering course at Bheemanna Khandre Institute of Technology (BKIT) in Bhalki. Later, he withdrew.

In 2021-22, when it was introduced, a total of 17 students had opted for Kannada medium civil and mechanical engineering courses. But all of them withdrew by the time of admission.

It is in accordance with NEP’s recommendations that All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) permitted universities to offer engineering education in regional languages with a capacity for 35 seats in each course. The Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) began to offer Kannada-medium engineering courses in civil and mechanical branches in 2021-22, and translated all the course material from English to Kannada, which was released by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi.

Three institutions offer engineering course in Kannada medium

Three institutions — SJC Institute of Technology, BKIT and the Maharaja Institute of Technology in Mysuru — began offering engineering courses in Kannada. Even with nil admissions, these institutions have decided to continue offering Kannada medium engineering courses.

Experts believe that poor support from government, in terms of course material and assured job opportunities, have put the ambitious Kannada-medium engineering course in peril.

Former VTU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Karisiddappa had submitted a proposal to the State Government seeking wider publicity for the courses. He also stressed on the need for job opportunities for Kannada-medium engineering graduates and reservation in government recruitment in PWD, Irrigation and other departments. But there has been no response from the government.

Role of State Education Policy committee

The Congress government has announced its decision to withdraw NEP in the State. It has formed a 15-member committee to formulate a Karnataka State Education Policy (KSEP). The committee is headed by Prof. Sukhdev Thorat, former chairman of the University Grants Commission.

Dr. M.C. Sudhakar, Minister of Higher and Technical Education, told The Hindu, “There is no demand for Kannada-medium engineering courses in Karnataka. The students make their choices based on the demand in the job market. Now we have constituted a committee for SEP, which will review the responses of students and make suggestions in this regard. According to their suggestions, we will take appropriate decision on the future of the courses in Kannada.”

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