Wednesday January 22, 2020

‘Higher education in Indian languages aspirational’

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Rohan Joshi, first from the left (Image: Sapan Kapoor, NewsGram)

New Delhi: In a bid to propose improvements to the New Education Policy that the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) is currently developing to make India a knowledge superpower, seventh School Choice National Conference took place in the national capital on Saturday. NewsGram spoke to Rohan Joshi, the Head of the Research vertical of Centre for Civil Society, on the need to provide education to children in Indian languages.

We also asked him whether his organization would urge the government to work in this direction in the future. Joshi said they would not recommend the government to have higher education in mother tongues although it was “certainly aspirational.”

The School Choice is an initiative of Centre for Civil Society to advocate element of competition in education space through policy reform and create an environment where every child has the Right to Education of Choice.

Here’s the interview with Rohan Joshi.

Q: Studies show that children learn the best in their mother tongue. If a child in South Korea can become a doctor after studying in Korean, why cannot a boy in a Tamil Nadu hamlet become one after studying in Tamil? What are your views on this?

Ans: It’s not a factual statement to make that children are not learning in their mother tongues because apart from a few states we actually don’t have government English medium schools. So the children who attend the government schools essentially study in the vernacular medium that is in their mother tongue at primary level.

Q: That’s at the primary level. Why should not they get the chance to pursue higher studies in their mother tongues? Why can’t students learn science in their own languages?

Ans: The clear issue here is having that curriculum developed in mother tongues. We ought to remember that this also has a correlation with livelihoods of the people because what happens is that at the primary stage it is more about the acquisition of competency, skills and knowledge. However, as you go towards higher education it starts getting far more driven by livelihood like what do they earn out of it.

And unfortunately, or fortunately, the language of transaction and livelihood at the moment is English. And it is actually true about a lot more other countries, not just India, where we can see a clear shift towards English medium education. I am just not talking about developing countries here but also about developed countries. For instance, in Spain and Italy where knowledge is available in Spanish and Italian, the conspicuous shift is towards English medium education.

Q: But countries like China seem to be doing pretty well by learning in their own language.

Ans: If you look at overall data China is an outlier. China is not a standard example because a shift is happening towards English there as well. Is it good or bad? I would say if it is serving the purpose and as you move up the education ladder the parental expectation is that children should be equipped with necessary skills for the job roles they would be performing in the near future.

Q: New Education Policy aims to provide affordable, quality education to all the children of India, irrespective of their backgrounds. How can a costly English education achieve this purpose?

Ans: It is not that English education is costly. Higher education, in general, is expensive. So even if it is a vernacular medium education, there’s no guarantee that it is going to be cheap.

Q: Should we make a shift towards learning in our mother tongues instead of a foreign language like English?

Ans: No, I do not think English is a foreign language anymore in India because we have pretty much internalized it. It is not this or that. You can actually teach both, English and mother tongue. Human beings are multilingual creatures and are capable of learning many languages. Is higher education in mother tongue good? Is it aspirational? It is certainly aspirational. I am not saying children should not have education in the mother tongue; they must have an option. At the same time making it compulsory is not the way because then you try to force it upon parents who do not seem to be willing for this at the moment.

Q: Would you recommend the government to chalk out a plan to have education in Indian languages?

Ans: For higher education ‘no’ and for school education definitely ‘yes’. As for higher education, it is not because we do not want to, but because that is not a concern for us. It’s an aspiration. We understand that people want their language to advance. The issue is we put too much burden on education to serve all the purposes. For instance, if people wish to show love for their language, it can also happen outside schools. Isn’t it?

We would like the New Education Policy to focus on the quality of education among other things. That is the need of the hour.

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Develop These 3 Essential Soft Skills through E-learning

Here are three skills that will help you excel in your career and life

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e- learning skills
One can learn certain soft skills like analytical thinking, creativity and problem solving through e-learning. Lifetime Stock

The rise of digitalisation and automation brought several changes in the Indian job sector; Owing to this, the way we impart and consume education went through a transformation as well. To succeed in any industry, degree, practical experience, and proficiency in domain-specific skills are certainly important. However, in order to efficiently use technology and apply your hard skills, it is extremely important to brush your soft skills before entering any organisation.  

Earlier, freshers only had a degree, few college assignments, and projects to talk about during interviews; however, the concept of internships, online trainings, and skill-based learning have completely changed the scenario today. Nowadays, even freshers are expected to hold a record of some internship experience and depict excellent soft skills during interviews. This is vital as in today’s era, robots and automation can simply carry out various day to day tasks, but soft skills such as analytical thinking, communication, active learning, and creativity retain and increase the value of employees in organisations. 

To fulfil employers’ expectations, scholars need to strengthen their command on soft skills and one of the best ways to achieve the same is through e-learning. With its self-controllable pace and real-world examples, online training ensures optimal learning and soft skill development within no time. 

Here are some in-demand soft skills that you can develop through online trainings

1. Analytical thinking

Thinking skills
To strengthen your analytical skills, online trainings such as data science and advanced excel prove beneficial. Lifetime Stock

To find out measurable and accurate solutions for different problems, analytical thinking is extremely essential. Data and information analysis is one of the most essential parts of analytical thinking which can be developed through online trainings. Every day, organisations have to deal with large amounts of data. This information needs to be analysed every now and then to keep a tap on organisations’ growth or decline in different key areas and to strategise further growth. This is why people who are able to handle huge amounts of data to produce good insights and help in taking informed decisions are considered great assets in every organisation.

Having good analytical skills could increase your chances of getting selected during interviews over other applicants. To strengthen your analytical skills, online trainings such as data science and advanced excel prove beneficial. The data science training teaches you to read a CSV file, understand operators, variables, dictionaries, functions, and data structures. Moreover, it lets you learn about data distribution, probability, data statistics, and types of testing while understanding the concepts of descriptive stats and inferential stats. Similarly, in the advanced excel training, you can learn In-depth lessons on formulas, functions, lookup functions, and data validation. You eventually learn how to automate, analyze, and present Excel data in the most effective manner. 

2. Problem-solving

We all deal with multiple problems in our lives whether small or huge. Ultimately, the only thing that keeps us going is our ability to analyse and resolve these problems. During any situation of crisis, employers always consider those employees who have the ability to resolve issues from ground level. Online programming trainings such as web development, core Java, Angular, and Android app development, strengthen your problem-solving skills. 

Programming is one such field where your problem-solving skills are largely addressed. While coding, the training helps you to develop a habit of computational thinking and learn to simplify complicated issues through simple codes. An aesthetic design could surely please the users at one go, but unless it solves one of their problems like shopping, buying food, or shipping a parcel across, it is of no use. Enrolling in any of the programming trainings allows you to deeply identify, analyse, plan, practice, and resolve multiple problems not only during coding but also in your day to day tasks.

3. Creativity

Creativity skills
Scholars can enrol in online trainings such as AutoCAD which helps to polish the creative skills. Lifetime Stock

Automation has brought enough technical efficiency, but creativity is one such segment where human involvement would always be required. Every organisation has multiple competitors today so, to stand out and capture the attention of their target segment, companies need to be creative. Therefore, employers generally look for those people who can think out of the box. 

Scholars can enrol in online trainings such as AutoCAD which helps to polish the creative skills. The training teaches you to precisely work on lines, points, circles, and arcs, shapes, study the key concepts of layers and a lot more. In an industrial project, it also requires you to work on 2D drafts and 3D models and come up with unique and creative designs. Whether you are an architectural, mechanical or electrical engineer, every new plan requires you to be creative than ever before. In fact, students who choose digital marketing trainings also develop their creative skills faster. Your skills in such training are polished when you plan and execute various digital marketing campaigns. Above all, online trainings develop your thinking and allow you to creatively plan and implement everyday tasks in your work premises. 

Also Read- German Translation of a Book on Indian Ancient Wisdom

All of these skills are put to use when you start working on assignments, assessment tests, code challenges, quizzes, exercises, and industrial projects that are provided in every online training. E-learning helps you to not just learn but implement and test your soft skills through such practically advanced options. For freshers with little or no working experience, soft skills are really essential during the screening process as it is the prerequisite based on which candidates are shortlisted. 

Courtesy: Internshala Trainings, a training platform (trainings.internshala.com)