PUNE: Once all permissions come through, Pune’s Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering (PCCOE) may become the first college in Maharashtra to impart engineering education in Marathi from the 2021-22 academic year.
“Across the country, 14 colleges have applied to start a batch in their respective regional languages, such as Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Hindi and Bengali,” said Anil Sahasrabudhe, chairman, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
Four colleges from Uttar Pradesh, two from Rajasthan, two from Maharashtra, two from Tamil Nadu and one each from Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh have applied for it. While most colleges have proposed to start a batch in computer science, there are proposals for electrical, mechanical and civil engineering as well, with some proposing two batches in different streams, according to data shared by Sahasrabudhe.
It is still to be seen how many of the proposals materialize. College of Engineering Pune (CoEP) is the other college in contention from Maharashtra.
When contacted, CoEP director B B Ahuja said while they had proposed to start a batch in Marathi this year, the decision was deferred as they wanted to be well prepared before taking on a new initiative. “There were concerns regarding the availability of books. However, the decision has only been deferred for this year. We will again take it up next year,” said Ahuja.
G N Kulkarni, director of PCCOE, said, “Our board of governors has approved the decision to start an undergraduate course in Computer Engineering in Marathi. We have applied to AICTE to allow the intake of 60 students so that we can start the batch this year itself. We hope to get a positive reply in 10-15 days. We would also need to get a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Directorate of Technical Education and Savitribai Phule Pune University.”
The institute has not yet done any survey to find if any students in the existing batches would have opted for Marathi medium had the option been available to them. “We generally do such surveys when we think of starting a new course on our own. The call to start a batch in a regional language came from AICTE and I am sure they must have conducted a survey,” said Kulkarni.
AICTE, in a news conference in March, had quoted from a survey covering 5,000 engineering students studying in second to final year, where 42% had said they would have opted to learn in their mother tongue if the option was available.
Tamil had found the most number of takers, followed by Hindi, Telugu, Marathi and Kannada, among others, Sahasrabudhe had said.
When asked about the availability of study material, teachers and the challenge of campus placement, Kulkarni said, “At the national level, there is a campaign to translate available textbooks into the regional languages and our teachers are also providing assistance. Most of our teachers speak Marathi as their mother tongue, so orienting them will not be a problem.”