Headline Jan 09, 2016/ ''' E N G L I S H '''.... O' *E N G L I S H*

''' E N G L I S H '''.... O' *E N G L I S H*

NOT SO LONG AGO,  India and Pakistan proudly and correctly boasted of their command over the English language, as one of the few relative advantages they had over China.

China now has about double the number of English speakers than India and Pakistan combined.

THE DESIRE FOR ENGLISH   -in the developing world is terribly underestimated. *English is not a trend, a fad or an upmarket pursuit*.

ENGLISH helps you face an interview, read the best academic books available and access the world offered by the Internet.

Without English, progress for youth/students even middle-class youth is heavily stunted. However, the state of, and attitude towards Education leaves just so much to be desired.

Let's talk about the state of  developing world first. And let's hear this directly from a great author and a fearless and first rate India observer Chetan Bhagat:

There is a tiny minority of English speakers who are extraordinarily fluent in the language, probably more than most Britons. That tiny minority also means millions of people in a country as large as India. 

These people had parents who spoke English, had access to good English-medium schools  -typically in big cities. They gained proficiency early on, which, in turn, helped them consume English Language products such as newspapers, books and films, thus increasing their command over the language.

English is so instinctive to them that even some of their thoughts are in this language. 

These people,  the EIs,  if I may call them that, are much in demand. Irrespective of their graduation specialization, they can get frontline jobs across various industries   -hospitality, airline, media, banking and marketing.

However, apart from the EIs, there are a large number of E2s,  probably ten times the number of EIs, who are technically familiar with the language and even understand it. However, their English communication is not a professional level.

If they sit for an interview conducted by EIs, they will come across as incompetent, even though they maybe intelligent, creative hardworking. They cannot comfortably read English newspaper and are thus denied the chance to upgrade their language skills.

They know English but have not been taught in an environment that facilitates this virtuous cycle of continuous improvement through the consumption of English language products.

Thus, while the difference in the level of E1 and E2 may not be too different at age ten,..... by age 20,  it is so stark that an E1 can get many jobs while an E2 won't even be shortlisted for many.

FOR LACK OF PROPER TEACHING, an entire world is closed to E2s. After the E2s, there are people who don't have access to English at all. 

These people need to begin with basic learning. However, E2s constitute an amazing number of youth across the developing world who just need that extra push to take them to the next level.

I've sat with the management of over  50 colleges, many in smaller towns. I distinctly remember an MBA college in Indore:
The principal, an IIT graduate, told me, ''My biggest concern is that my students don't know how to speak and write proper English.

Sometimes I wonder, should I teach them finance and accounts or should we just take basic English grammar glasses. For, during interviews, no matter how well they can analyse a company, they will not be comfortable putting a sentence together.

WHAT WERE THEIR SCHOOLS DOING? And why should a postgraduate MBA college be doing this? That said, he hired ten teachers for his 200 students for the sole job of teaching them proper, MNC interview ready English.

To convert the E2s to E1s, a complete overhaul of the English school curriculum is required. We can't count on the teachers alone as we simply don't have good ones.

We must give students, even the senior secondary ones, simple, relevant and fun English course materials that they enjoy reading, watching or learning from, so that they can get into the self-driven virtuous cycle of consuming English language products.

Forcing them to read antiquated or convoluted books, because some PhD in literature classifies them as good, is the same as giving a primary school student a  Nobel thesis  in the name of science. It will scare the child/student  and kill any curiosity for further exploration. This is a fixable problem.

Apart from the state of the English Language, the second hindrance is the attitude. There are two attitudes   -first the snobbery. A section of people believe that teaching and learning English should be a high-class affair.

Elitism and English are linked and people who speak good English look down on people who don't. Elitism hurts the inclusion process and without inclusion, no nation as a whole can really progress.

***And English is not competing with the vernacular  -but it is a necessary skill for students to rise in the modern world. 

With respectful dedication to the Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the World. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society:

'''  Modern World '''     

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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