09 June 2007

Language Barrier

JIPMER is host to students from all corners and caves of India. And with India being such a culturally rich and diverse country, these students come from varied backgrounds. They come from a number of states and regions that have their own languages. While hindi and tamil are spoken or understood by a large populace of the nation, there are other languages too. And with Puducherry being a tamil speaking state, a lot of the students face a lot of difficulty conversing with them.

Medicine is not a course that can be completed from the comfort of the lecture halls and libraries. All students have to face the patients themselves. And even though Puducherry is a developed state as per some standards, most of the patients who come to JIPMER are from rural villages and do not know even Hindi, let alone a word of english.

Many students in the run up to ward leaving exams or university exams pray more that they get an english speaking patient than pray that they remember the theory of the subject.

It would have been nice if in the decades since JIPMER was inaugurated, the administration had by now realised or acknowledged this difficlutly for the students and arranged for some coaching classes in tamil for the students. But all that they have been able to come up with is a small booklet in which common tamil words (spoken to the patients) are phenotically spelled out in hindi. This is of little help for the many students who do not speak/read hindi.

While colleges and universities across the globe employ student councellors and do their best to help and assist their students to get settled in, it seems a leading college like JIPMER could not be less bothered.