Sanskrit textbook crunch: Teachers in MP pitch for e-books, e-classes

Hindustan Times | By, Indore
Apr 21, 2015 07:34 PM IST

Here is a revelation for BJP-led MP government which has been making tall claims to revive Sanskrit and ancient Indian studies by advocating their modern-day relevance.

Here is a revelation for BJP-led MP government which has been making tall claims to revive Sanskrit and ancient Indian studies by advocating their modern-day relevance.

Students studying Sanskrit in colleges are faced with acute shortage of syllabus textbooks to the extent that they are compelled to study from guidebooks available in the market and get photo copies of books which their teachers and libraries lend.

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Higher education minister Umashankar Gupta says he is unaware about the book shortage.

"No teacher or student brought it to my knowledge. I am hearing this for the first time," he told HT.

Book sellers avoid selling Sanskrit textbooks prescribed in colleges and varsities as the number of students is less.

“Stocking Sanskrit books doesn’t get us business. There is no sale as we get handful of students who ask for Sanskrit books,” said Khajuri Bazaar book seller Ritesh Nahar said.

The state has nine government Sanskrit colleges and a Sanskrit university in Ujjain.Their strength of students is not more than 1,500.

As per norms, students doing post-graduation in Sanskrit literature can write in Hindi but students doing MA in Sanskrit Prachya, Acharya (MA equivalent) have to write the answers in Sanskrit.

Though Sanskrit textbook crunch existed for over a decade, it has deepened in last two years.

"Unavailability of books is killing the natural quest of the students to know more about the subject. It affects their intellectual development. Since most students study from photocopies of available textbooks, all write similar answers in examination. There is no diversity," Indore Sanskrit college guest faculty Suresh Charturvedi said.

"Syllabus is vast. Available books are few," Indore Government Sanskrit College principal Vinayak Pande added.

Though Sanskrit colleges have libraries, their norm to issue not more than two books at a time has limited students’ studies.

A Shastri (BA equivalent) student has to refer to 10 to 15 books. An Acharya student has to study 15 to 20 books. “But not even one good book is available,” said advocate Prerana Makwana, who is pursuing her PhD in Sanskrit.

Keeping in view that most college students come from weak socio-economic background, the new generation computer-savvy college lecturers have pitched for smart classes where students can open e-textbooks on smartphones, tablets provided by the state government and where teachers impart lessons through slides and powerpoint presentations.

“Audio-visual teaching will make learning interesting, easy and fast. At present, students cram for exams,” said Indore Sanskrit College guest faculty Abhishek Pandey, 34.

Another guest faculty Suresh Chaturvedi, 37, said Sanskrit Apps should be developed which provide quizzes, mock tests, interviews related to syllabus.
"Students will enjoy them. Also, it will prevent them from distractions like logging onto Facebook while in class," he added.

Stating technology will attract youth to Sanskrit, Rewa Government Sanskrit College assistant professor Aniruddh Pande said it can be implemented easily as Sanskrit is considered to be world’s most suitable language for computers.

Bhopal Government Sanskrit College assistant professor Siddhasen Shastri said, "There is need to generate awareness about smart classes and having more Sanskrit websites. But it will take time."

Minister Uma Shankar Gupta said first priority would be to provide textbooks. “Rest can come later,” he remarked.

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    Padma is a Special Correspondent and looks after Central govt and political parties. She has special interest in local history of Indore and Malwa region, art and architecture.

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