NEW DELHI: The Centre has been pushing Sanskrit as a study medium, but there seem to be no takers of the Vedic language. One-third of nearly 150 departments of higher education in Sanskrit had to shut down in the last three years due to low enrolment in Sanskrit courses.
An internal assessment by the Ministry of Human Resources Development on the status of Sanskrit education in the country found that undergraduate and post-graduate departments in Sanskrit universities were closed as no students opted for them. “The NDA government has been criticised for saffronising education by introducing Sanskrit. Students are not interested in the language as they see no job prospects,” an official said, adding that there was a need to create job opportunities in Sanskrit.
Last year, the ministry had come up with a 10-year plan for the development of Sanskrit language. Around 120 universities offer the language at UG and PG level, and there are 15 Sanskrit universities. Though there are about 1,000 traditional Sanskrit colleges affiliated to these universities, many can’t be affiliated. Several states have no defined authority to affiliate traditional Sanskrit colleges which cater to around 10 lakh students.
The ministry is working to improve the level of Sanskrit teaching in schools as there are 5,000 traditional Sanskrit paathashalas and about 1,000 Veda paathashalas in the country, which are not affiliated to any board. Only Bihar, Assam, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh a have Sanskrit Secondary Education Board or Directorate of Sanskrit Education.
“Sanskrit should not be seen as an optional subject and should be brought into the mainstream,” said a member of a well known Sanskrit organisation.