Union minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday said the Staff Selection Commission aims to conduct competitive examinations in 22 Indian languages in the future. The intention is to provide a language-neutral level-playing field to all aspiring candidates, he said, addressing the valedictory session of the 'Bharatiya Bhasha Utsav: Technology & Bharatiya Bhasha Summit' here.
Singh said it was at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that from this year onward, SSC examinations are being conducted in 13 languages -- 11 regional languages and Hindi and English. Before 2014, he said, candidates had no option but to choose either Hindi or English as the medium of examination. Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, said that before 2014, the translation of English to Hindi was also done very poorly, putting many students in a disadvantageous position.
He said that in the times to come, the SSC aims to conduct competitive examinations in all the 22 Indian languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, according to a Personnel Ministry statement. Singh said JEE, NEET and UGC exams are also being conducted in 12 Indian languages and "this historic decision will give impetus to the participation of local youth, improve their selection prospects and encourage regional languages". He said notable progress has been made in the last more than nine years under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi to promote Indian regional languages. The minister that PM Modi has given a call to provide medical and engineering education in regional languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Bengali.
Singh said the prime minister has taken a historic decision in the new National Education Policy (NEP) by giving importance to the mother tongue of students in primary, technical and medical education. Terming NEP as the biggest path-breaking reform in India since Independence, he said it will transform the country's education system to match global benchmarks.
"Twenty-nine institutes across 10 states in seven regional languages namely Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu have been identified for imparting engineering education in one or more disciplines," Singh said. He said today, around 40 million Indians are in higher education, which is more than that in the US and EU combined, and the ambitious NEP seeks to double that number. "NEP-2020 supplements the start-up ecosystem with the promise to open new career and entrepreneurship opportunities for students and youth in India," the minister said.