#Education #Youth Opinion

Survey finds 43% engineers can’t write correct English; here are some opinions and solutions

In a not-so-shocking result of a survey conducted by employability measurement company Aspiring Minds, it has been found that English learning levels among engineering graduates is very poor in India. The report informs that about 43 percent of engineers in the country can’t write correct English‎. Also, it says that a class VII student has better grammar skills than one in every two engineers, and that four out of every ten engineers are unable to speak or write correct English.

Sushant Malik, a fourth year B. Tech. student was worried about his own English till a couple of years ago. But then he found an innovative solution and has no qualms in sharing it with his fellow sufferers. He identified the root cause: “Poor English among engineers is mainly due to lack of girlfriends,” he says. “Luckily I was well-endowed on this aspect; two of my three girlfriends were students of English Literature.” They helped him immensely in dealing with the issue. Interestingly, his third girlfriend was a student of Sanskrit literature, but she was as helpful with English as the other two girlfriends. “Basically you need a girl. They’ll talk in English even when the listener is deaf,” Sushant tells.

Another student, Priyanshu, has a different story to tell. His English was good till twelfth standard, he says, but the bestseller popular novels that he got addicted to during his engineering days ruined his language. The editor of a well-known publishing house admits that the language of the popular teenage novels are of sub-standard quality and filled with Hinglish slang and inappropriate use of grammar in desperate efforts to provide a bit of joy to depressed engineering students.

(Photograph: Silicon India)

While forty percent of engineering graduates fail to express themselves correctly, it was the most eloquent and voracious speaker who made the first official comment on the study—Mr. Kapil Sibal, who declared matter-of-factly: “You see, it’s the pattern of JEE that is responsible for this.”

He added, “If we come back in power in 2014, we will obviously have to think of new fresh changes in everything again, because there will be nothing else to do. We can consider including a section in JEE to test the language skills of aspiring candidates. It should have maximum weightage. It will ensure that students being admitted in IITs engineering colleges are qualified enough to follow the lectures in class.”

If such a test comes into existence, we expect many coaching institutes to introduce pre-pre-foundation courses to train the students of Class VIII and beyond to use grammatically correct English. A popular coaching institute’s director agreed to this suggestion; he said that the group visualises itself as a dominant player in the domain of Entrance Exams Training Industry across the country and strives to keep up with the changing trends and needs.

English training in JEE coaching centres with classes all over India may also finally provide massive employment opportunities for English graduates, and they are understandably happy with the survey. It can be a lucrative job given the reputation of these numerous institutes for paying hefty amounts as salaries to its faculty members.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sibal, known for his grudge against social networking sites, also hinted that the emerging trend of using such sites among students has worsened the language situation. Sites like Facebook have no way to check grammar and spelling errors, he says. “They are not willing to cooperate in our endeavour to build a pool of engineers professionals who can express themselves in flawless English.” The India head of a social networking site responded, “It is most unfortunate to know that the Minister blames us thus. We at least provide a platform to our users to compulsorily use English as a medium of expression unlike government schools and colleges.”

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Jyoti Singh


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