Call to expedite steps to employ Malayalam as medium of instruction in colleges

As the country takes baby steps towards adopting regional languages for higher education, the State Institute of Languages (Kerala Bhasha Institute) has urged the State government to expedite preparatory steps to employ Malayalam as the medium of instruction in colleges and universities.

With the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) giving its nod to offer BTech programmes in 11 regional languages, including Malayalam, 14 engineering colleges across eight States have decided to offer select courses in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu and Tamil. The Karnataka government too has revealed its plan to offer all professional courses, including engineering, in Kannada from the 2022-23 academic year.

State Institute of Languages Director V. Karthikeyan Nair has written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to implement it in engineering colleges after holding a preparatory meeting with the Higher Education Minister, Additional Chief Secretary (Higher Education) and the Vice Chancellor of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU).

Curriculum, textbooks

He also urged the KTU to convene its Boards of Studies to initiate steps to evolve curriculum and textbooks for the first two semesters in Malayalam in the initial phase. Teachers who handled subjects of these semesters should be imparted orientation courses in Malayalam, Prof. Nair opined.

He added that the institute was willing to collaborate with the KTU to translate essential textbooks required for the transition to Malayalam. In his representation, Prof. Nair also urged the government to extend the endeavour to universities that offered arts and science courses.

The Kerala State Higher Education Council should be entrusted with overseeing the efforts.

While Malayalam transliterations were available for reference books required for subjects such as history, economics and political science, the institute could take up the challenge of preparing textbooks for other subjects.

Not insurmountable

Arguing that adopting Malayalam widely as the medium of instruction was not an insurmountable task, Prof. Nair pointed out that several English words originated from Greek, Latin and even Arabic. A teacher adept at the subject he/she was teaching should be able to convey the relevant concepts in any language. The medium should not become a hurdle, he said.

He added that the State need not adopt a rigid policy while promoting the use of Malayalam. “Several household words like computer or table can be retained as such, even while we focus on expanding our bilingual glossaries in a phased manner. The glossaries developed by the Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology (under the Ministry of Education) could also be utilised,” he said.

According to Prof. Nair, scientific usages in the language should be ideally taught among first-semester students through a mandatory add-on course similar to those taught in countries such as China and Germany.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 10:43:02 PM |

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