Technical colleges that are starting courses in regional languages for the first time this year witnessed poor enrolment as some colleges managed to fill only 15% to 30% seats available until Thursday, five days ahead of the beginning of the new academic session, officials said. However, Karnataka showed a better response. According to the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA), till Monday, 17 students had applied for 30 government quota seats reserved for engineering in Kannada. Counselling session is yet to begin in the state.
In accordance with the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 that moots regional language as language of instruction, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) this year granted permission to 20 colleges across the country to offer select engineering courses in regional languages. Of these 20 colleges, 10 colleges chose Hindi to impart engineering course and rests provided the option of Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.
To meet the requirement of the upcoming session, the AICTE has almost completed translating books applicable for the first-year students in these languages, said AICTE officials. AICTE chairperson Anil Dattatraya Sahasrabudhe said that “large-scale” awareness programmes need to be launched by the colleges.
“It’s just the beginning and we should be encouraged even if some students are opting for it. At least colleges are coming forward and AICTE is making all possible efforts to provide an option to study engineering courses in regional languages to students. The information may not have circulated this time to places where the target group is there. We need to extensively create awareness about this to encourage more students to opt for it next year,” he said.
Officials at several colleges said that parents and students are hesitant in opting engineering course in regional languages.
Dinesh Goyal, director of Poornima Institute of Engineering and Technology in Jaipur, which is offering BTech in Computer Engineering in Hindi this year, said only 15% of the 60 seats were filled as of yet. “The response is not as per the expectation. It looks like we could not properly communicate about the course structure to the students. There are still many apprehensions among students. Computer science students are not convinced that they can do the programming part in Hindi. Besides, they are concerned about how the industry will absorb them after the course. We are expecting that the regional language courses will get more popular in the coming years,” he said.
In West Bengal, Avijit Karamkar, principal of Technique Polytechnic Institute in Hooghly district which is offering diploma courses in Bengali from this year, said only 30% to 35% of their seats were filled as of now. “We need to assure students that they will get jobs after pursuing engineering in regional languages,” he said.
Similarly, officials at Pranveer Singh Institute of Technology in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh which is offering computer engineering in Hindi, said the admission number is “abysmally low” as of now. “It looks like people are not yet confident about pursuing technical courses in any language other than English,” said Sanjeev Bhalla, the institute director.