CAT to be held in Indian regional languages along with English language which includes Sanskrit, Sindhi, Maithili, Urdu, Santhali, Bodo, Dogri and regional languages as per Schedule VIII of the Indian Constitution, is what has been suggested by Director of IIM Rohtak. Currently CAT which is held by IIMs, is conducted in English language for admission to top business schools of the country.
Hon. Education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, in one of his tweet mentioned about proposed JEE being conducted in regional languages since it is also one of the key thrust areas of the NEP.
But, CAT and JEE are two completely different ball games. Will it really help any of the two stake holders of MBA programme – the recruiters and the students, is the question we have in our mind, and along with us many others from the B School fraternity, we spoke to.
The lack of proficiency in English language should not be a reason to not pursue higher education for any candidate is what has been stated in the report. Agreed. But, many questions remains unanswered.
What about study materials ? Do we get to see a Philip Kotler translation in Maithili or Sanskrit ?
What would be language in classroom or projects and case studies ?
The most pertinent question being – Will the recruiters be willing to offer jobs to students who can only communicate in regional languages without minimum level of proficiency in English ?
Is this acceptable to Indian B Schools ?
Specially those not in Tier 1 and 2 and have been facing massive challenge during placement season unable to place students not having English language proficiency skill ?
Many B Schools had to take up additional communication classes to hone this skillset during the MBA and train the students as a pre-placement activity to ensure they get a job offer as Corporate recruiters of MBA continue to list communication skills – essentially in English language, as a top skill.
Who can benefit ?
Students opting for Rural Management whose work may not demand communication in the English language.
Entrepreneurial mindsets with a regional business model or a family-run business? Maybe.
We spoke to faculty members and leaders in Management Institutes and also students appearing for CAT 2020 and this is what they have to say.
Prof. Dr. Himadri Das, Director General at IMI Delhi: I don’t think it’s a good idea as business conducted by MBAs incorporates will not be in these languages, it will be mostly in English.
Prof. Shekhar Chaudhuri, Former Director IIM Calcutta: Theoretically it would be a good idea to conduct CAT in all the regional languages to bring about a level playing field for all MBA aspirants; however, it would not be a practical idea for a long time. States, regions and languages in India are at different stages of development, so it is unlikely that all study materials would be available in those languages. What about the faculty? From where are we going to get the faculty? The GOI wants the IIMs to produce global managers and desires that these institutions to get globally recognized and ranked. These are contradictory goals in the foreseeable future. An important issue that needs to be kept in mind is placement. Would companies like to recruit MBA graduates who are proficient in regional languages but unable to communicate well in English?
Prof. Shobha Das, Dean, IFMR Graduate School of Business, Krea University: “The idea of administering CAT in regional languages besides English holds both promises and challenges. MBA aspirants who are more fluent in reading and writing in other languages will no longer be limited by their proficiency in English. In this sense, the use of other languages levels the playing field of MBA admissions. However, most business in India, particularly in the formal sector, is conducted in English, so MBA graduates will have to acquire a good grasp of English by the time they graduate. Ensuring that graduating students can communicate in English at a satisfactory level of fluency will become a responsibility that B-schools must shoulder. The paucity of instructional materials (books, cases, articles, …) in regional languages must also be addressed.”
Rev. Dr. C. Joe Arun, S.J, Director, LIBA: It has been proved that a person is creatively productive when he or she learns in his mother tongue. In that way, it is a good initiative to have CAT in regional languages. Because language is culture, not just a medium of communication. Cultural competence is crucial to be successful in the business world. But one should not forget the importance of having a facility in the English language that is functionally useful. And the B-Schools should also teach in regional languages.
Students appearing for CAT 2020 were asked this question, 89% of them either laughed at the idea or said not sure, 11% opted for – ‘Great Idea’.
The languages that are included in Schedule VIII of the Indian Constitution are – Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Maithili, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.
With so many languages and vast cultural diversity can India ever become a country like Japan where the most widely used language is Japanese and considered as standard for communication?
Are we not suppose to attract international students to India?
Instead of regional languages will it be a better idea to include foreign languages like Chinese, Japanese, Australian, or French in CAT?