Tamil in Technical Education

The Home Minister of India, Shri. Amit Shah visited Chennai recently and urged the Government of Tamil Nadu to introduce Tamil as a medium of Instruction for medical, engineering, and technical courses. 

He also pointed out that only 50 people had enrolled for some technical courses in Tamil though more than 1300 seats have been allocated.

Sunday Times, 13/1/2022

I also read a response to the Home Minister by the State’s Higher Education Minister, Shri. K. Ponmudi that Engineering Coursework in Tamil was introduced over 12 years ago by the then Government. The Higher Education Minister also pointed out that in 1967 the then Government of Tamil Nadu also introduced a stipend to students who take their coursework in Tamil. The State has continued to provide this stipend, and with a gradual increase over the years, the Government is currently providing Rs. 900 per year to encourage students studying in Tamil. 

The State Education Minister has also urged the Center to promote Tamil in Central Institutes and especially in Kendra Vidyalaya, run by the State.

 Daily Thanthi, 14/11/2022

Both the Home Minister and the Higher Education Minister touch on very important issues that we face today. If the intent is to impart education in local languages, India in a few decades will be very different from the India we live in today. It can and will be for the better with great execution.

The State and Center need to work in tandem for a prosperous future. However, in this instance, I do think that the State has more work to do to promote Tamil. I want to point out that just making announcements of schemes or living in the glory of the past is not going to help us. 

Here are some questions:

  1. It is great that Engineering was introduced in Tamil. How many students are enrolled in the program?
  2. The Stipend is Rs. 900 per year. Is it sufficient enough to encourage people to take their coursework in Tamil? Also, it will be great to see data on the number of students who are benefitting from this.
  3. Can we also walk the talk? Are the granddaughters, grandsons, sons, and daughters of the folks in Government taking Tamil as a medium of Instruction today? Again, we can’t expect this to change overnight, and we have missed doing this in the last 50 years. However, I do think we can make an effort now to make this happen.  
  4. What are the job opportunities for taking Tamil as a medium of Instruction? How can it add prosperity to my life? We can’t expect people who follow us to do one thing and to do something else.
  5. What is the vision of this exercise?

Again, I am of the firm view that Tamil (and other Indian languages) needs to be promoted, and it also needs to be the language of business. We love the fact that Tamil has a possibility to be in the technical curriculum. However, not enough is being done on the ground. We need to take bold steps. At the current pace, if we do not act and take proper steps and walk the talk, we will be in a much more disastrous state with respect to losing our culture. 

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