If all goes well, students from Hindi-medium schools who gain admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will no longer face the language barrier in class.
IIT authorities are setting up a support system to ensure that study material — otherwise taught in English — is put across in a way that students from Hindi-medium schools can understand. The institutes are using their Hindi cells, which handle administrative work such as translating texts and organising seminars, to assist them.
As the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) is conducted in both Hindi and English, many students from Hindi-medium schools manage to enter IITs across the country. It is after classes begin that things get tough — they fail to understand the study material and lectures, which are predominantly made in English.
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Sources said many IITs, including the ones in Delhi and Roorkee, have witnessed a large number of such students failing or performing poorly due to this issue.
Incidentally, the IIT council – the highest decision-making body of the prestigious institutes – had commissioned a study in August to assess the performance of Hindi students who appeared for the JEE.
Admitting that students from a Hindi background have trouble understanding subjects taught in English, IIT-Delhi director V Ramgopal Rao said: “If they don’t grasp the basic concept, they face difficulties in exams. Hence, we have formed a support system, through which staffers of our Hindi cells explain the subject to them. We have launched it for first-year students.”
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IIT-Roorkee, for its part, is holding extra classes where professors fluent in both the languages explain scientific concepts to such students in chaste Hindi. “This will help clear their doubts, ensuring that they don’t lag behind,” said Pradipta Banerji, director of IIT-Roorkee.
Sources said language was a major reason why many such students fail to achieve the required cut-off marks for getting promoted to the second year. A large number is also expelled from the premier institutes due to their inability to grasp the concepts taught in class.
An analysis of JEE results also showed that students who took the examinations in English performed much better than their Hindi-medium counterparts. For instance, while the success percentage of English-medium students who appeared for the Advanced exam in 2016 was 24%, only 15% who picked the Hindi option made it through.