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VTU students asked to clear Kannada to qualify as engineers

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VTU has finally decided to make Kannada a credit course; it will help ‘outsiders’ integrate with the state, say proponents of the move.

Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) has decided to introduce Kannada as a compulsory subject for all the first-year students. This means that engineering students will now have to mandatorily pass the Kannada language test to move into the next semester. Up until now, Kannada had been an add-on subject (in which attendance was compulsory, but taking the exam wasn’t); but it will henceforth be included as a credit course. Also, the university will ensure that the results make it into the final marksheet.

As a majority of VTU students are from other states, the Kannada lessons were so far aimed at helping students get over the language barrier in their everyday interactions. Vice-Chancellor Karisiddappa confirmed the development: “Until now, we had two types of Kannada lessons – the advanced level for Kannada-speaking students and basic lessons for students who don’t speak Kannada. Now, we will introduce Kannada as a Credit Course for the first-year students.” The Vice-Chancellor said he was happy with the development as it will be “very good for students who come to Karnataka [who can now learn] day-to-day communication”. “They are going to be here for the next four years and it is beneficial for them to get adjusted to it. Once it becomes a credit course, students will have to pass the exam before progressing to the next semester,” he added. Registrar HN Jagannatha Reddy too was welcomed the move: “The decision was taken by the Higher Education Council and in this ‘Kannada Kali’ initiative we will encourage the non-Kannada speaking students to learn the language. This is going to be a main subject for first and second semester students and they need to take it seriously.”


The university, which has more than 220 affiliated colleges, plans to compulsorily have Kannada classes for four hours per week. The Registrar said: “We need to start recruiting Kannada teachers now. If Kannada classes become mandatory for all semesters, we will have to set up of a whole new Kannada department.” Of course, not everybody is happy with the development; especially the students, who will now have an addition exam to clear. “As it is, we don’t have time to study engineering subjects and if Kannada is made a compulsory paper, then it becomes difficult. Teaching Kannada is fine but why exams,” a student asked.

According to a new rule introduced by its current VC, Karisiddappa, employees will have to appear for exams conducted by KPSC, which includes Class 6-level Kannada syllabus. Gayathri Reddy, Bangalore Regional director, said: “We have taken exams related to the Constitution and Class 6-level Kannada. We even have viva exams for Kannada. This is helping us.” In 2015 too, VTU’s then VC​,​ H Maheshappa​,​ ha​d​ tried making Kann​a​da mandatory at the university. But it wasn’t implemented. This time, however,​ it will happen.


Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) too will have Kannada classes. Vice-Chancellor KS Ravindranath told BM: “It is going to be difficult for medicos to deal with patients if they do not know Kannada. It is a must, I feel. We have already formed a committee to implement Kannada lessons for students. Students will get confidence by learning the regional language as most of them will be working in the state. We will include Kannada classes in the existing curriculum.” – Courtesy


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