UGC President Jagadesh Kumar told The Hindu that the regulatory body aims to prepare 1,500 books in regional languages ​​in the next year across different disciplines.

UGC President Jagadesh Kumar said The Hindu that the regulatory body aimed to prepare 1,500 books in regional languages ​​over the next year in different disciplines

Early introduction to learning a native language is important for a child’s creative thinking, while English can be learned at any stage of life to be used as a communication tool, says Jagadesh Kumar, chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Teaching regional languages, however, cannot come at the expense of English in a globalized world, he said.

“Suppose I give you a task and tell you that you need to reach a destination, but you don’t know how to get there. I give you a bike to get to your destination, but you don’t know how to ride a bike. Now you need to complete two tasks – you need to learn how to ride a bike and ask people for directions to reach the destination. What are you going to focus on to be a good learner? This is the dilemma a child faces? We want to remove this dilemma and let the child think naturally in their own mother tongue, forget about English. You can learn it anytime,” Mr. Kumar said. The Hindu in an interview.

However, English could not be ignored either.

“There is a misunderstanding that needs to be cleared up that when we talk about Indian languages ​​it is to the detriment of English. Today we are a globally connected community and if we want to communicate with the rest of the world, it is a practice that we must [continue] and our students must be trained to master the use of English as a communication tool,” the president explained.

“The Colonial Mindset”

But one of the challenges was “our colonial mentality” and it was necessary to change our attitudes so that when someone asks a question in a class in a regional language, they don’t feel inferior, he said. .

The UGC was in talks with various regulatory bodies such as the Bar Council of India for the promotion of vernacular languages ​​and a committee had been formed under former Chief Justice of India SA Bobde which would consider how the institutions could provide legal education in local languages. The All India Council of Technical Education has also introduced regional language courses in 10 colleges.

It is also working with the High Level Committee on Indian Language Development set up by the Ministry of Education to identify experts as well as 10-12 disciplines so that the books can be translated or rewritten.

The UGC president said the regulatory body aims to prepare 1,500 books in regional languages ​​over the next year across different disciplines.

Mr Kumar said this would lead to two things – either the institutes would adopt a regional language as a medium of instruction or it would serve as a learning aid for English students who may not be fluent in the language.

In response to a question whether classroom instruction in regional languages ​​was better suited to state universities than to central universities, where a large number of students came from all over the world, the president said that he there was a technology based on artificial intelligence to enable real-time translations. that we would see in classrooms in the future.

The National Education Policy 2022 emphasizes the promotion of the mother tongue which should be a language of instruction at least until class 5 or class 8 and after which it should be offered as a language. It also urges universities to develop study materials in regional languages.