The Higher Education Department has proposed to train college students in Tamil. The Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education is considering the idea as surveys have revealed that students are unable to coherently frame their thoughts and write even in their mother tongue.Colleges and universities have been offering soft skill courses in spoken English, personality development and handling computers. Though it is for the benefit of all students, many routinely skip them.“The training will have to be wholesome and must be imparted by those interested in teaching such skills,” said an official, adding, “Soft skills require an entirely different method, different from classroom teaching.”M. Ravichandran, a retired professor in English, concurred with the observation. “Soft skills are varied, including the capacity to listen, appreciate other points of view, by perception,” he explained. However, when it comes to language, it can be taught only by someone proficient in the language, he pointed out. There are other bottlenecks. Some teachers are not interested, while others are willing to teach, but are not the right fit, Higher Education officials rued. The Tamil Nadu Skill Development Council offers ₹250 an hour for every batch of students taught. But the financial component to the teachers is not attractive enough to enthuse them. Then there is the space crunch. Some colleges do not offer classrooms for the skill session. “Colleges are being run in shifts and teachers do not have sufficient space to conduct such programmes,” explained an official.But there is no doubt that trained manpower is required. Last week, during the Tamil Internet Conference, speakers made a pitch for improving Tamil content on the internet, which currently stands at less that 0.1% of the total available contentSpeakers pointed out that there was a need for six lakh persons to upload Tamil content to the web. Minister for Tamil Official Language K. Pandiarajan regretted that though judgments could now be translated into Tamil, it was a challenge to find efficient translators.TANSCHE officials, meanwhile, are hoping to replicate the success of a pilot model that the Tiruvalluvar University had experimented with.
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