Following complaints, Anna University overturned its intention to halt civil and mechanical engineering programmes in the Tamil language in its 11 constituent institutions on Thursday, May 25, 2023. On Thursday, a circular addressed to constituent colleges to close the Tamil programmes in BE Civil and BE Mechanical from 2023-24 sparked outrage, with some arguing that the State language was being neglected.

Following reports, R Velraj, the vice-chancellor of Anna University, notified journalists that the decision was rescinded on the recommendation of Tamil Nadu’s higher education minister, K Ponmudy. “The Tamil medium BE courses in civil and mechanical will continue as usual this year,” Velraj said after meeting with the minister on Thursday.

“We had begun civil and mechanical engineering courses in Tamil. It appears like the university is ignoring the mother tongue. That is not correct. Candidates are demonstrating an interest in subjects other than mathematics. We intended to introduce subjects that students today want, such as computer science and engineering. Last year, we translated study materials for 50 disciplines, and another 500 are currently being translated,” Velraj told The Hindu.

BE Mechanical and Civil programmes in Tamil medium have been cancelled in constituent institutions, also known as University College of Engineering (UCEs) in Dindigul, Ramanathapuram, Ariyalur, Panruti, Pattukottai, Thirukkuvalai, Nagercoil, and Thoothukudi, according to the circular. In Arni and Villupuram UCEs, just the BE Mechanical programme in Tamil medium was suspended; in Tindivanam UCE, only the BE Civil course in Tamil medium was suspended. BE (Electrical and Electronics Engineering) courses in English medium have also been suspended at Thirukkuvalai UCE, and civil and mechanical BE programmes in English medium have been discontinued at Ariyalur and Pattukottai UCEs.

Mr. Ponmudy stated that the V-C stated that the reason for the cancellation of the Tamil medium courses was due to low enrollment in these courses. The V-C quickly overturned the decision after consulting with the government, he added, adding that the government had nothing to do with the development. The Minister also expressed optimism that Vice Chancellors would change their methods in the future.

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