Hey! Why does every professional course has English as a subject, in whichever form — compulsory English, business English or communicative English? Why is it that aspiring doctors, MBAs, chartered accountants and other professionals are made to study the subject that is seemingly not important to them as far as their professional curriculum goes? Have you ever thought about it?

Well! The answer is plain and clear — expertise in communicative English gives one that ‘oomph’ (attractiveness) factor in terms of ‘market potential’. And in current circumstances, what with professionals like MBAs popping out like popcorns from the popcorn vending machine, one has to equip oneself completely in order to get a good job and then, of course, to keep it. Is it then surprising that English is taught at every level?

Unfortunately, despite English being a part of every professional programme, most of the professionals fail to even hold a decent conversation in English, forget about writing good English. The reason for this, in the words of a very senior professor of English, is that most of the institutes give English a very step sisterly treatment. The ‘chalega’ attitude that is employed in the teaching of English makes it a subject that despite being important remains ignored.

It is only when the English subject is taken seriously that English can be learnt properly for professional usage.

I had to talk about the gravity (importance) of this question that was raised in an English workshop that I attended. I happen to teach communicative English for a professional course. What I see is that students are not able to frame a simple grammatically correct sentence, forget about writing lengthy reports and essays.

It is not that the students do not understand the necessity of the language, it’s just that they see English at the course level more from the point of view of passing an exam rather than understanding the inevitability of the language at the professional level. So they prefer to bunk lectures and learn English speaking at expensive English speaking classes rather than picking up the nuances of English language from their lectures in colleges.

It is only when the students and the institutes recognise the need to bring seriousness in the learning of English that English will cease to be a ‘status symbol’ and the language of ‘the elite’ and will be treated more like any other language — Gujarati, Hindi or Tamil.

Does my article sound like a lecture? Good! In the next one, I shall discuss how to make English more interesting and student friendly at the college level — professional or otherwise. Bye for now. Have a lovely week.

And keep smiling…

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