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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

In order to check the language barrier and dropout rate among students, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has approved engineering colleges across Odisha to offer select BTech courses in regional languages from the upcoming new academic year 2022. However, the development has evoked mixed reactions among the students.

In line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the BTech courses will now be available in 11 regional languages including Odia. Preparations to roll out the new curriculum setup have been initiated in Odisha with the AICTE giving green signal for the move.

According to sources, books for the course will be prepared in Odia language soon under the stewardship of Odia Language and Research Centre. The centre will form a committee and start the translation of English course books in Odia shortly.

Meanwhile, Odisha Private Engineering College Association (OPECA) has welcomed the move.

“It’s a great move by AICTE. Now language will not be barrier for the students who are dreaming to be engineers. Since translating the core technical engineering terminologies will be difficult and at times impossible, they will remain intact in Odia translation. Only the subject matter will be translated into Odia language to make the nitty-gritty of subject simpler for students preferring to take up engineering in vernacular medium,” said Sipra Mallick, Working President of Odia Language and Research Centre.

Owners of private engineering colleges also feel that the change in the medium of study will help fill up the vacant seats in the colleges in a great way.

“As most of the students taking admission in engineering colleges come from Odia school mediums, the move will encourage them to pursue the course with new vigour,” said OPECA president Binod Das.

China, France, Germany and Korea have been successful in the field of engineering by teaching their students in their own languages. So, there shouldn’t be any doubt in our minds as to why we will not be successful,” said Das.

Engineering courses are already being taught in as many as eight regional languages like Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati, Malayalam and Bengali. Odia will be the ninth regional language to be the medium of engineering study from the new academic year. Students have expressed mixed reactions about the development. While some students supported the move whole heartedly, others expressed their doubt over its implementation.

“The change in the medium of language will be really helpful for the rural area students who generally find it difficult in the initial stages to comprehend the intricacies of engineering proficiently in a non-vernacular medium,” said Rojalin Nayak, an engineering student in Bhubaneswar.

However, some other students expressed their concerns that the move will not help Odia students equip better outside the State in any way.

“Engineering is vast and translating all the books into Odia will be a herculean task. Moreover, Odia students, learning the subject in their regional language, will face a great deal of difficulty outside the State,” said Anant Jena, another engineering student.

Notably, as many as 88 private colleges and eight private colleges are functioning in Odisha with around 30,000-35,000 students taking admission every year. More than 10,000 seats are remaining vacant in these colleges every year.

(Edited by Suryakant Jena)

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