The University Grants Commission (UGC) has ordered universities all throughout India to permit English Medium students to pass exams in their mother tongues, even if the course is taught in English. This is a significant milestone.
This action is a part of the government’s initiative to advance mother tongue education and regional languages across the nation.
Higher education institutions, according to the UGC, have a critical role to play in developing textbooks and fostering the teaching-learning process in regional languages.
Therefore, it is essential to encourage and promote initiatives like translating standard books from other local languages and writing textbooks in the local tongue.
In light of this, the commission has requested that students in universities be allowed to write answers in local languages in examinations, even if the programme is offered in English medium. Furthermore, it has asked universities to use local languages in the teaching-learning process to promote mother tongue education.
The central government has also been taking steps to promote regional languages and mother tongue education. In a recent development, the Staff Selection Commission Multitasking (non-technical) examination, 2022, and CHSLE (Combined Higher Secondary Level) Examination, 2022, will be conducted in 13 regional languages, in addition to Hindi and English. This initiative will help lakhs of aspirants to participate in the exams in their mother tongue/regional language, thus improving their selection prospects.
This “historic decision” was taken at the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to encourage local youth and regional languages, said the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions. Languages including Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Odia, Urdu, Punjabi, Manipuri (also Meiti), and Konkani will be used in the question paper.
In September 2021, the Ministry of Finance recommended that clerical recruitments for twelve public sector banks and advertised vacancies would be conducted in 13 regional languages, along with English and Hindi.
This move by the UGC and the central government is a significant step towards promoting regional languages and mother tongue education in the country. It will not only benefit students but also help preserve and promote India’s linguistic diversity.