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By Harshmeet Singh

“A common perception in India is that Indians need English to succeed. But is it the other way around in reality?”

The sky high vision and aim of becoming a world power that we carry with respect to our nation, are based on an extremely shaky education system which considers mimicking western theories the best way to impart knowledge.

With such a rich culture which is renowned worldwide, you would imagine that Indian students of social studies and humanities would carry with them enviable knowledge of Indian traditions, language and vedic sciences. But unfortunately, all our education system offers to them is western ideas and western thoughts.

Our Anglophonic education system is majorly responsible for a continuing colonized mindset that regards English as a mark of superiority. As the African and Asian nations tread the path of development, their share in the global GDP will see a surge in the coming decades. The economic influence of the English-speaking nations is set to dip in the near future.

With Spanish giving a tough competition to English in the US, English is looking for an emerging economic power that would save its status as the global language. In order to rope in Indian audience and viewers, a number of US and UK news channels have now started covering news from the Indian perspective.

India adopted a three-language for its education system in 1960s, when the Indian economy looked up to US and UK. With English taking the center-stage in this policy, the regional languages started losing ground. Despite vast changes in the economy and India’s global standing, we never thought of re-visiting our language policy for education to save our indigenous languages.

English

Some of the most renowned scientists in the world have taken birth in non-English speaking nations, thereby ruling out the perception that English is necessary for professional success in the field of Science and Mathematics. Though knowledge of English, like any other language, is certainly a handy skill to have, it is a myth that English is ‘necessary’ for professional success.

There are innumerable examples to break this myth. The onus of breaking this myth for the Indian youth lies with the Government which needs to ensure that there are ample employment opportunities for those who chose to give English a miss, and rather concentrated on other skills.

The first step in this regard would be ensuring that there is high quality educational material in indigenous languages for the students at all levels. The UGC initiated Bharatvani project is a major step in this regard. Proposed to be developed as the largest language portal in the world, the Bharatvani project aims at delivering knowledge in almost all Indian languages, with the help of multimedia formats. It plans to aggregate multimedia content from the government, writers and other non-governmental organizations and put it on a common platform. UGC also plans to rope in publication houses and different universities to make it a success.

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UGC Issues Guidelines to Higher Education Institutions across India to Impose Ban on Single-Use Plastic

The guidelines state that the institutions should systematically ban the use of plastic on their campuses and replace it

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Carpets, Rugs, Plastic Waste, Biodegradable, Recycle
The rugs manufacturer and exporter emphasises green and responsible production using non-polluting manufacturing practices and conservation of energy and materials as far as possible. Pixabay

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued guidelines to higher education institutions across the country to impose a ban on single-use plastic.

The move comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching a mass revolution against single-use plastic from October 2, which will mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The guidelines state that the institutions should systematically ban the use of plastic on their campuses and replace it with “environment friendly substitutes.” It also mandates that every higher education institution in the country should ban single-use plastics in canteens, hostels and shopping complexes in the institution’s premises.

“Carry out awareness drives and sensitisation workshops on the harmful impacts of single-use plastics, mandate all students to avoid bringing non-bio-degradable plastic items to the institution, install necessary alternative facilities like water units to avoid the use of plastic,” the guidelines state.

UGC, Plastic, Ban
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued guidelines to higher education institutions across the country to impose a ban on single-use plastic. Pixabay

The UGC guidelines also ask the institutions to encourage the students to sensitise their respective households about the harmful effects of plastics and make their households ‘plastic-free’. The guidelines are an effort to encourage the universities and colleges to adopt policies and practices towards cleaner and plastic-free campuses.

The guidelines also ask the higher education institutions, which have adopted villages under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, to undertake a campaign in their adopted villages till they are converted into ‘plastic-free villages’ through promoting awareness and encouraging shift to alternative products.

The higher education regulator, while issuing the guidelines, said that plastic waste has emerged as one of the biggest environmental concerns adversely impacting the soil, water, health and well-being of citizens at large and that time has come for a systematic campaign to reduce the usage of plastics.

It added that the educational institutions have the unique spread and influence to educate the students and households on the need to avoid the usage of plastics.

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Prime Minister Modi in his Independence Day speech had urged citizens to eliminate the use of single-use plastic, besides suggesting that shopkeepers should provide eco-friendly bags to the customers.

Subsequently, in his monthly “Mann Ki Baat” address, Modi had said that the time has come for the citizens to join hands in curbing single-use plastic. (IANS)