Junior College students give Hindi the boot, prefer IT to a second language
Bollywood might be popular in the city of dreams, but the number of takers for Hindi as a subject in the Junior College curriculum is going down alarmingly. More students are opting for Information Technology (IT), which is being offered as an option to second languages at the Junior College level. At a few colleges, Hindi as a compulsory subject is being taught only in government-aided divisions.
Students prefer to learn IT, and Hindi has no takers. File pic for representation
Hindi language teachers are raising their concern over the situation. Calling this state of affairs a danger to the country’s national language, the Maharashtra Rajya Hindi Shikshak Sangathna (an association of Hindi teachers across the state) is going to write to the state government, requesting to put corrective measures in place. According to the association, this situation will also affect basic Hindi learning in schools. Since Hindi is not perceived to add any benefits at the Junior College level, students prefer to opt out of Hindi in schools too.
Dr Dayanand Tiwari, president of the Maharashtra Rajya Hindi Shikshak Sangathna, told mid-day, “The current education minister who also handles the cultural ministry, should take a more empathetic view of the situation, as languages are an integral part of any culture. And here we are talking about our national language.”
Explaining the situation further, Tiwari said, “While takers for the Hindi language were anyway going down, in the last two years, the situation has worsened. IT is being offered as an option to the second language. Many students prefer IT to learning a second language, which is either Marathi or Hindi in most colleges. Many students opt for Marathi as many come from Marathi medium schools and feel comfortable studying that as a second language. But Hindi medium schools are already less in number, and many students opt for IT as it is considered an additional qualification.” According to Hindi teachers, the number of students opting for Hindi in Junior College has come down by around 10 per cent over the past two years.
Explaining the situation from another angle, Dr Vandana Pradeep, Hindi professor, SIES College said, “The IT subject, being a professional qualification, comes with an extra fee, whereas languages being traditional subjects are included in the regular curriculum. For Hindi, the fee is almost negligible as it is covered in the overall fee. But for IT, the extra fees are above Rs 10,000. But students do not mind paying this extra fee, as there is a general assumption about professional subjects that they are additional qualifications. This is beneficial to colleges as well, as they can charge extra fees for IT.”
Dr Ancy Jose, principal of N L Khandwala College, has also observed the dip in the number of students learning Hindi. She said, “There is a general assumption among children that languages are not scoring subjects. But second language level is not very difficult. While IT is being offered as an option to second languages, once IT seats are filled, many go for foreign languages, but Hindi continues to remain last in their preference list.”
Students across the city feel that learning Hindi in a regular curriculum is a waste of time. Neha Juneja, Std XI student of SIWS College Bandra, said, “I have opted for IT because even with extra fees of Rs 12,000, learning this subject is more beneficial. If I opt to learn it in private classes they would charge me more. Plus it is not as if we will not know Hindi or the language will die out just because we are not learning it in the curriculum.”
Adding to this, Rutvik Kamble, Std XI student from Siddharth College said, “Hindi is so routine and familiar to us that we are not attracted to learn it again formally.”
Commenting on the situation, Vasant Kalpande, former chairperson of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, said, “It has been observed time and again how subjects at Std X and XII level are selected on the basis of how much they will help a student in scoring higher marks. Based on this, there are several assumptions among students and parents. No student takes a decision based on interests and choice at this level, as scoring marks is of utmost importance to be able to get admission to a higher education course of their choice. While it is true that IT as a subject may be more helpful in scoring high marks, students fail to realise that a subject offered as a second language is also much easier.”