TAMIL NADU

‘Language option to test knowledge of students'

MOMENTOUS: Higher Education Minister K.Ponmudy presenting degree to a student at the convocation of Anna University, Tiruchi on Wednesday. S.V. Raghavan, right, Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India and P.Devadas Manoharan, second from left and Vice Chancellor are also in the picture . — PHOTO:R.M.RAJARATHINAM

MOMENTOUS: Higher Education Minister K.Ponmudy presenting degree to a student at the convocation of Anna University, Tiruchi on Wednesday. S.V. Raghavan, right, Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India and P.Devadas Manoharan, second from left and Vice Chancellor are also in the picture . — PHOTO:R.M.RAJARATHINAM  

Engineering students would be given freedom to write their examination in Tamil or English or in both languages, the State Minister for Higher Education and Pro-Chancellor K. Ponmudy said on Wednesday. He was presiding over the first convocation of Anna University – Tiruchi. The examination system has to be attuned to test the students' understanding of the subject knowledge. The very purpose behind introducing Tamil medium in Civil and Mechanical engineering branches this year was to help students grasp subject knowledge with ease, said Mr. Ponmudy. While English is important as a link language, the medium of instruction has to be in mother tongue, he said, citing the instance of China where English was being learnt only for communication purposes. The State Government was not against English, he said, referring to the sanction of English Language Laboratories for 67 government arts and science colleges. Clarity (on learning in mother tongue) was essential for academic progress, Mr. Ponmudy said.

Tamil Nadu, he said, was front-ranking in terms of the higher educational opportunities, particularly for girls. The State accounts for about 1.5 lakh out of seven to eight lakh engineering candidates passing out every year in the country.

While the Government was prepared to support undergraduates by ways of higher educational opportunities and self-employment schemes, the onus was on the universities and colleges to infuse the right skills in them. Likewise, it was time the teaching community adapted their approach to leverage the advantages of Information and Communication Technologies, Mr.Ponmudy said.

S.V. Raghavan, Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor, New Delhi, conferred degrees in engineering and other areas on 1,394 candidates.

In his convocation address, Professor. Raghavan exhorted students to believe in their own capabilities and carry out tasks with courage and conviction to develop the country, which, he observed, was on a threshold of a major change in the 21 {+s} {+t} century.

Professor. Raghavan viewed the high-bandwidth National Knowledge Network (NKN), being built with direct monitoring by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the game changer for India.

With a powerful core (at 40 gigabits per second), distribution (at multiple 2.5/ 10 gbps), and edges that connect all institutes of higher learning like IITs, IIMs, NITs and universities, and national laboratories with one gbps connectivity, the NKN, as an integrator, is poised to benefit an extremely large number of students, addressing paucity of teachers.

In making the collective wisdom of national institutions and laboratories reachable through the seamless connectivity between institutions and individuals, the country expects that new pedagogy, new relationships and new research ideas will emerge, said Professor. Raghavan

Presenting the annual report, Vice-Chancellor P. Devadas Mannohar said the university was the first to introduce engineering programmes in Tamil medium.

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