No takers for Finnish, Russian, Arabic in Bangalore University

No takers for Finnish, Russian, Arabic in Bangalore University

India's foreign collaborations seem to influence preference of languages

No takers for Finnish, Russian, Arabic in Bangalore University

There are no takers for foreign languages such as Finnish, Russian and Arabic offered at the Bangalore University (BU). India’s foreign collaborations seem to influence students’ preference of languages.

BU Foreign Languages Head of Department Jyothi Venkatesh told Deccan Herald, of the eleven foreign languages offered by the varsity, French is ruling, closely followed by German and Spanish. French is so popular because of the vast collaboration between India and France. Bengaluru in particular has scores of projects in science, defence, space and cultural sectors involving institutions like IISC, NCBS, JNCASR and the Alliance Francaise.

Venkatesh said, Arabic should have a good demand given the high number of Indians in the Gulf. “As there are thousands of jobs in UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, you see high travel to the Gulf, but students are not taking up the language at BU. Even if the minimum number of students come, we’ll have the course for them,” she said.

She said if an optimum number of students do not enrol for a language course then it can no longer be offered even though there are teachers for the same.

“We have no takers for Finnish, Russian and Arabic though we have teachers. At least 10 students per course is a good number. Of the three, we get a high number of enquiries for Arabic, but at the time of admission, the numbers don’t show up. We are trying to understand why the admissions are lower than enquiries in Arabic.”

Finnish was an option given Nokia’s large presence in Chennai. But with the Chennai unit folding up and Microsoft buying it off, there are no takers for it now, reasons Venkatesh.
Marketing strategy

Russian has few takers because of India’s weak industrial presence in Moscow and Russia’s highly niche collaboration with India. Russia collaborates with India largely in the defence, military and space sectors. There is certainly a need for language specialists in these sectors, but a specialisation in defence, military and space matters is also required. There are a few translators for Russian, but there aren’t a large number of Indians who speak the language. A good marketing strategy by positioning the language appropriately may enable the university to draw students. Given the billion-dollar collaborations between India and Russia in hi-tech sectors, there is certainly a need for Russian language specialists, she said.

Another reason for low takers for certain languages is the large mass of students migrating to the US, UK and Australia where English is the preferred language.BU teaches French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

Among the Eurasian languages, there is a higher preference for European languages, with French being the most sought after. Among the Asian languages, Japanese is doing well, followed closely by Chinese and Korean.

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