The Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT), which works under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Education, is rushing to create technical and scientific terminology in 10 Indian languages underrepresented in the learning landscape.
The CSTT will bring out what it calls fundamental (basic) dictionaries with 5,000 words per language, in three to four months. These will be in digital, searchable format, and free of cost. About 1,000-2,000 copies will be printed in each language.
Bodo, Santhali, Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani, Nepali, Manipuri, Sindhi, Maithili, and Sanskrit are a part of the list of 22 official languages of India’s Eighth Schedule. However, there is a paucity of study material created in them, primarily because of a lack of words to describe scientific phenomena and technical terms. The sparse content available was confined to the primary school level that used English words when regional vocabulary was unavailable.
The immediate focus is to cover 15 disciplines: journalism, public administration, chemistry, botany, zoology, psychology, physics, economics, Ayurveda, mathematics, computer science, political science, agriculture, civil and electrical engineering. These will enable textbook formulation at the middle- and senior-school as well as university levels.
The dictionaries will be distributed to State education boards, universities, engineering institutes, and the National Testing Agency that conducts entrance examinations such as the Common University Entrance Test (CUET), Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main, and University Grants Commission (UGC)-National Eligibility Test (NET) to aid in preparation of content.
The national language list, when created in 1950 had 14 languages. Sindhi was added in 1967; Konkani, Manipuri, and Nepali in 1992; and Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, and Santhali in 2004.
“There is a lack of content and linguistic resources in these 10 languages, leading to a lack of availability of learning material in these languages,” Prof. Girish Nath Jha, chairperson of the CSTT, Ministry of Education, said.
The CSTT, which was set up in 1961, has the mandate of evolving technical terminology in all Indian languages. The organisation is finalising several memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with prominent institutes, including IIT Bombay, for quick online dissemination.
The move assumes importance as the National Education Policy 2020 has espoused the use of regional languages as a medium of education in both school and college.
Following this, the government has taken several initiatives such as introducing engineering and medical courses in regional languages in several States. The UGC has also said that it will soon release a road map to introduce undergraduate and postgraduate courses in regional languages in all disciplines, including commerce, humanities, and science.
In June, the Bar Council of India (BCI) also constituted a panel to formulate recommendations on how to introduce courses in regional languages in law colleges.