Published: 16th October 2021
Will making Kannada compulsory under NEP widen the urban-rural divide? Lecturers weigh in
Even as an optional, students would choose a skill-based course over language, as the latter would not be seen as a value addition in terms of employment, said another lecturer
Compulsory Kannada for four semesters of undergraduate courses under NEP from the current academic year has made English an optional language. But lecturers have their concerns about the deterioration of other languages such as Hindi and Sanskrit among urban students, as English would be a go-to option for these students.
Meanwhile, there is a concern that Kannada being compulsory would further widen the urban-rural divide. "English and Math are historically low scoring subjects in PUC and SSLC for a majority of students and thus, if made optional, these students who find English daunting would give it up. However they would face a drawback when English is needed in job opportunities," said an English lecturer from a private college in the city affiliated to Bengaluru City University.
Another concern is that there are various papers for English, for instance, Ability Enhancement Compulsory Course — AECC in English, which would be compulsory but average; Additional English or Functional English which is yet to be decided upon; Skill Enhancement course, that is, Spoken English; fourth is an open elective English which has four types of courses, said another lecturer affiliated with BCU.
English lecturers rued that the language which was once elitist was brought to the doorsteps of commoners and with it being made just an optional, there is a greater chance that the language would become the prerogative of a few.
Even as an optional, students would choose a skill-based course over language, as the latter would not be seen as a value addition in terms of employment, said another lecturer from an autonomous college.
However, the fact that Kannada is extended to four semesters comes as a matter of joy to Kannada lecturers. One of who, at a recent conference, expressing delight said that about 60 per cent of them are prepared for the implementation of the National Education Policy, however, we are still seeking once-in-15-days training on how to bring in open electives to colleges.
Another lecturer from an evening college wondered how welcoming Bengaluru would remain to students from other states after this hub of education makes Kannada compulsory.
There are said to be at least 2,000 students from the North Eastern states studying in various colleges in Ramamurthynagar alone, said another lecturer.
Kannada compulsory would impact the workload of other subjects — for instance Hindi and Sanskrit. Sudha, Principal of Vijaya College Jayanagar, suggested a model where colleges could implement functional Kannada for non-Kannada speakers in alternate semesters perhaps. This would balance out the skewed workload of Kannada teachers.