The UGC China Studies Centre, MMAJ Academy of International Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), organised a panel discussion on “The National Education Policy 2020: Implications for Chinese Language Teaching in India” on the 19th February, 2021.The session was chaired by Ambassador TCA Rangachari who underlined the importance of China Studies in India and the role of Indian universities in teaching China and the Chinese language towards generating greater knowledge on China.
The first speaker, Prof. Priyadarsi Mukherji, Professor in Chinese at Jawaharlal Nehru University elaborated on the goal of the National Education Policy in a multicultural and multilingual environment like that of India and its importance in creating a robust job market with long term prospects for the Indian youth.
Prof. Mukherji also elaborated on the importance of understanding and learning the Chinese language and its utility towards India’s national interest given the neighbourly relations between India and China. In this regard, he also reiterated the importance of research on archival sources for a better understanding of India and China. He advocated a national hub for institutions on Chinese language teaching for better deliberation on China studies across India.
The second speaker, Ms. Mamta Rani Agarwal, Additional Secretary at the Association of Indian Universities, gave a comprehensive presentation on the different aspects of the NEP and on the idea of implementing equitable and inclusive education in India. She highlighted the aspect of creation of special education zones and a multidisciplinary and holistic approach in higher education through clustering of institutions in a collaborative process of institutional cooperation as one of the main themes of the NEP.
The third speaker, Prof. Avijit Banerjee, Professor in Chinese, Visva Bharati University deliberated on the importance of the Chinese language and how knowing the language is just half the battle to understand China, the other half being the understanding of culture and society of that country. In the background of the importance of learning a foreign language in today’s globalised world, he reiterated on the importance of learning Chinese language for trade, diplomacy and serving the need for skilled labour supply.Prof. Banerjee used the illustration of language teaching as a means for emergency preparation for a future conflict as was the case during the World War II, with reference to Chinese language teaching and learning in today’s India.
The discussion was attended by more than 100 participants from all parts of India and it was followed by discussions on several themes pertaining to Chinese language education including the NET exam in Chinese and the role of both the public and the private sector in creating better job markets for Chinese learners in India.Prof. Ajay Darshan Behera, Officiating Director, MMAJ Academy of International Studies, delivered the formal vote of thanks and concluded the session outlining the need for a better vision for the Area Studies and language programmes in India and engagement as one of the key paths for the redevelopment of these disciplines.