IIT Kanpur prioritises Indian languages on its campus to build an equitable and holistic education system
Kanpur : In a path-breaking initiative, IIT Kanpur announced setting up of a Centre aimed at a seamless integration of students from Hindi and Other Indian Languages (OILs) background in the socio-academic milieu of the prestigious institute.
Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) has set up this Centre for students from across the country with a non-English medium of instruction at school. The newly-instituted Shivani Centre for the nurture and re-integration of Hindi and other Indian languages will ensure availability of the course content in regional languages to overcome the challenge of restricted job opportunities at the end of the academic program. Students with Indian languages background are also known to face serious challenges such as social integration with the peers. Most importantly they are unable to take full advantage of the opportunities of the academic and personal growth because of the language barrier.
The Centre is being established with a grant of USD 1 million from Micky and Vinita Charitable Fund. Our alumnus Mr. Muktesh (Micky) Pant (BT/CH/76) is setting up this Centre in the memory of his late mother Smt. Gaura Pant better known as Shivani. She is an institution in Hindi literature and is considered as one of the most popular Hindi writers of the 20th century. She was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India for her contribution to Hindi literature in the year 1982.
Mr. Micky Pant Founder, Micky and Vinita Charitable Fund said “While knowledge of languages is always good, fluency in English should not be a factor in getting a top education in engineering. IIT Kanpur has always led the way in academic innovation and I hope that they can now lead the way to nurture Hindi and other Indian languages and prepare for a future where digital technology allows students to excel in engineering irrespective of their fluency in English. My mother, Shivani ji was fluent in Hindi, Bangla and Gujarati and I was always inspired by her grasp of cultural nuances and her rich vocabulary from multiple languages but she was always proud of Hindi. We are honored that IIT Kanpur is naming the center after Shivani Ji, and my sisters Veena Joshi, Mrinal Pande and Ira Pande look forward to seeing the center grow and prosper and fulfill the Institute’s vision”
One of the objectives of the Shivani Centre is to focus on providing students with opportunities for self-expression and personal growth, guarding them against feelings of exclusion and isolation while allowing them to gradually integrate with socio-academic milieu of the institute. The Centre will try to address these issues not only at the institute level but also in the context of higher education in the country in general by facilitating the creation of academic resources (STEM content, textbooks, references, digital tools) in languages other than English.
The Shivani Centre will enable dissemination of technological tools to increase the ease-of-use for Hindi and other Indian Languages (OILs) on digital platforms, socio-emotional integration of students from Hindi and other Indian Language backgrounds at IIT Kanpur, and promoting communication, literary and artistic expression using Hindi and OILs.
Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director IIT Kanpur said: “It has been acknowledged that Indian languages are important for educational and cultural development as they strengthen equity in education. Students with Indian languages background face challenges in navigating the English language based course content and often face academic and social exclusion as a result. The Shivani Centre is expected to bring about a paradigm shift in the educational practices on the campus of IIT Kanpur. It will ensure seamless integration of students of Hindi and OILs background at the institute and will fulfill the objectives laid out in National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. I am grateful to our Distinguished Alumnus Mr. Micky Pant for his generous donation for setting up the Center.” Prof Karandikar also expressed his deep gratitude to Mr. Micky Pant for being a great supporter of the institute. Earlier, Mr. Pant has also contributed towards establishing School of Medical Research and Technology at IIT Kanpur.
IIT Kanpur has laid out a time-bound program for kick starting the project, ensuring strategic interventions like preparatory material and implementation objectives, translation of course content into Hindi and OILs and promoting and developing software and technological tools.
The project will be monitored on a sustained basis till it achieves self-sustenance and goes into the auto-pilot mode.