Tag Archives: English

A Very English affair

Dinesh Kumar, a migrant from Vaishali district in Bihar, is an electrician in Delhi. Though making ends meet is a challenge, he is not willing to
send his two children to a Hindi medium government school where education is free.

The school fees and related expenditure exceed Rs 2,000 per month and form a quarter of the roughly Rs 8,000 that Kumar earns each month. But he is happy to foot the expense. “I want my kids to study in an English medium school. If they don’t know English, what future will they have?” asks Kumar. It is such reasoning that helps explain the huge increase in enrolment in English medium schools, making it now the second largest medium of instruction in schools across the country.

According to estimates, just over 10 per cent of the Indian population speaks English. But, it is a growing number and the rate of growth outpaces most vernacular languages. The big exception is Hindi, which, of course, is in a different league with 41 per cent of the country’s population speaking in that tongue. Read More >>

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Should studying in the mother tongue be made mandatory for students

Your Education is Our World

The medium of instruction in schools is a highly contentious issue and draws strong reaction in just about every state of India. Politicians, literary personalities and other people in the State often demand that education of a child be in the child’s mother tongue. Parents and even older children demand that the medium of instruction be English.

The battle on which language a child should be taught, especially in the primary school, in their formative years, is not restricted to India alone. A quick research will tell you it is a topic of heated debate among parents, politicians, policy makers, thinkers in many other countries of the world too.

In most cases the discussion is, the mother tongue verses English. Undoubtedly, English is the 2rd most spoken language in the world and many parents feel that if their children study in the vernacular, they are at a disadvantage at various competitive examinations, when traveling abroad for further studies and when they desire to participate at a wider global level.

Regional thinkers and promoters of vernacular languages feel that a child is deprived of their collective consciousness and cultural roots if they are taught in an alien language, like English. Who is right? Should one language be chosen over the other, should students be given a choice, have students who have been taught in English instead of their mother tongue gone further in life as opposed to their counterparts who studied in the vernacular? These are just some of the questions that need to be mulled over.

Either way, if we look at these questions carefully you will notice that they actually take us away from major issues that should actually be the focus of discussion.

With or without the ‘medium of instruction’ wrangle, it is a horrifying fact that the literacy rate in India is an abysmal 66%. One of the points in the common minimum program (CMP)of the UPA government during its 1st tenure was to  invest at least 6% of the country’s GDP in Education, (many poorer counties spend a much larger part of their GDP on education than India). India spends more on its defense forces than on the future of this country, which is education. Not only did the government fail to increase its budget on education in keeping with the CMP in the 1st tenure of the government, there seems to be no move to ensure it materializes in the second tenure of the government either.

Today of course the education minister of India is able to create a furor, which lasts for months, about making exams for X standard students optional, but what about the millions of children still in the villages of India, who don’t have teachers, who don’t have schools, whose potential continues to be wasted.

How, for example, does it matter if the medium of instruction is ones mother tongue but the content in the textbooks is still about the Second World War and Greek history, and is in no way linked to ones state and regional culture? What is the use of the education if it does not impart life skills? Does not teach about civic participation, health and hygiene? These are very real issues that are often ignored.

State and regional politicians and thinkers often experience fear that young people will be uprooted from their local culture and customs if they are taught in an alien language, but how empowering is this local language and culture?, is it helping create  a more equitable society or does it perpetuate a status quo that has been around for millennia? These and some other questions need to be debated.

Things on the education front can change only when the government invests more into education. Giving every child in this country an equal opportunity to access education. Giving each child and parent the freedom of choice about what medium to study in. While politician’s say students should study in their mother tongue, what is the state of government run schools? Can they be turned around to deliver quality education?, then of course parents would be more than happy to send their children to government schools and root themselves in their culture.

What does a rule like ‘mandatory studying in the mother tongue’ mean to a cosmopolitan city like Bangalore, or any other state in India for that matter. Students come here from all over the country. The IT city has a huge BPO and KPO industry that services the US and Europe, how will young people join this highly lucrative industry if they not adequately proficient in English?

What are your thoughts on this?………. email us and let us know……….. we will be glad to start a discussion on this issue on our blog.

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IL&FS Education launches Spoken English Course on Mobile Phones

Your Education is Our World

Imagine 6 young girls from a small village near Panipat, sitting every evening, switching on a mobile phone on speaker mode, and learning spoken English skills on the terrace of their friend’s house. The entire course costs the group a total of Rs.20 per month as subscription charges and 60 paisa per minute of call charges. In all, the expected total spending of the 6 girls on a Spoken English program has been around Rs.60 per month, i.e. Rs.10 per user per month. Compare this to the low quality English learning courses available in smaller towns at Rs.500-1000 per month and one can realize the potential of Mobile Learning in a country like India.

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Writing a Good Career Objective in Your CV

Your Education is Our World

This is a series on how to write a Curriculum Vitae or a CV.

If you Google on the internet, you will find thousands of templates on how to write a good CV. Formats, styles, career objectives, the works, and yet, I recently had the opportunity to look at a sizable number of CVs and noticed, more than a few mistakes in each.

The CV is the first document an HR Personnel will get from you. It is thus a ‘textual representative’ of you. In a scenario where there are thousands of people competing for the same job and position, how you write your CV could make all the difference between getting on to the ‘shortlist’ or simply being left out.

Writing a CV is supposed to be easy enough to be taught in grade 10 of most educational boards, but at that young age most of us are either too immature to remember what  had been taught about CV writing or do not accurately comprehend the importance of a CV. So, when we grow much older and are getting ready to step into the job market, writing a CV sends shivers down the spine of most young people.

When it is time for most people to write their CV what do they do? Ask an intelligent friend or colleague who is well placed to send them their CV. Why, you ask? Well, so that they can copy the template (and sometimes career objectives!). The assumption here is that since the friend or colleague is well placed, they have a ‘well designed’ and ‘well written’ CV. But this assumption need not always be true, as I have noticed on innumerable occasions.

I recently interviewed a girl who gave me a one page CV. I was surprised to find that the continuation had been printed on the back of the page instead of on a separate page. So I queried if the girl, who had done her MA in English, had not been taught how to write a CV in any of her classes. Imagine my shock when she told me that she had actually prepared her CV as part of an ‘Advanced English and Business Writing” Course she had paid Rs 3,500 to do. So quite a few of you young people may pay good money and still not have a good CV that speaks well of you.

For those who are thinking of writing a CV and can already feel the butterflies in their stomach, relax. Undoubtedly a CV represents you but it is also not such a complex thing that it cannot be done with a little effort and thought.

Infact, if you are willing to invest some time, ‘thinking’ of what should go into your CV, it would be a rather simple process.

The first thing to remember if you are not sure of your English, and this is a major problem in India, is to keep your CV simple. Keep it simple so that you yourself can understand it.

The first place that I have observed most people stumbling on is their ‘Career Objectives’

Here are a few examples I came across, that you should not repeat.

“Seeking a challenging and growth oriented position where my interpersonal skills can be best utilized. With good command over English and nuts for writing makes me achieve my goal. Looking for vacancy as a fresher, in business process outsourcing, human resource development and as an article writer for a leading newspaper.”

“Seeking a challenging carrier by giving all my skills to my profession and awaiting for a initiative role.”

“ To develop my career as HR Professional that leads to further growth in my professional skills and personal satisfaction by utilizing my skills and ability to work for the growth of an organization.”

“To be a part of the challenging team which strives for the better growth of the
organization and which explores my potential and provides me with the opportunity
to enhance my talent with an intention to be an asset to the company.”

“To associate with an organization which progresses dynamically and gives me a chance to update my knowledge and enhance my skills, in the state of art technologies and be a part of the team that excels in work to words, the growth of organization and my satisfaction thereof.”

Points to keep in mind when writing the Career Objectives in your CV

  • Keep the English simple
  • Keep the sentences short, precise and concise. Cut the verbiage.
  • The tone of your Career Objective should be formal.
  • The Grammar should be correct.
  • Check your spelling more than a few times.
  • Do not copy and paste other peoples Career Objectives
  • It is best to keep your Career Objectives 3-4 lines.
  • Make sure your Career Objectives match the job you are applying for.  A line like this “Looking for vacancy as a fresher, in business process outsourcing, human resource development and as an article writer for a leading newspaper” is a big NO NO!

Once you think you are done, read your Career Objectives 20 times over to ensure that it conveys what you want to say.

If you are unsure of your English, please get a lecturer from your college, or any other person who is good in English to read and correct it.

Simple and Good Career Objectives

“To secure a promising position that offers both a challenge and a good opportunity for growth”.

“To work in association with professional groups who offer me the opportunity for career advancement and professional growth.”

“To work in a stimulating environment where I can apply & enhance my knowledge, skill to serve the firm to the best of my efforts.”

The above Career Objectives may sound generic and broad, but when you are fresher, they will do.

The internet is a huge resource at your finger tips. Coming up with a shoddy Career Objective means you have been lazy and failed to actively use the internet to check on what you have written. It could be the reason why you are currently seeing months of joblessness.

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Do not close schools not using Kannada as medium of instruction: SC to Karnataka

Your Education is Our World

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the Karnataka government should not force Kannada as the medium of instruction in primary classes and directed it not to close any private school which decided to go against the state policy by imparting education through English medium.

Refusing to stay last year’s high court judgment allowing private schools to choose the medium of instruction, a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan said: “The government shall not pass any closure orders against unrecognised schools.”

It, however, gave relief to the state, which is yet to implement the HC order, by staying the contempt proceedings initiated by the HC against the chief secretary and officials of the education department.

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SC’s language lesson to schools: Teach in English

Your Education is Our World

The Supreme Court on Tuesday frowned upon the imposition of mother-tongue as a compulsory medium of instruction in educational institutions and warned it could go against the interests of students struggling in the competitive world dominated by English language.

A three judge bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan observed if states try to impose their mother-tongue on unwilling students, it could turn counter-productive and make them ineligible even for clerical jobs.

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I’ve Never Been Good at Reading

Your Education is Our World

“I’ve never been good at reading.”
“I can’t help my kids at all with their reading homework.  Reading was always my worst subject.”

“Anything after middle school English, forget it – I’m terrible.”

Have you ever heard a parent utter these statements?  Of course not, because to make a statement such as, “I’m not that good at reading,” is socially unacceptable among the averagely educated, involved parents of school aged children in our society.  Which begs the question of, why then, is it socially acceptable to make such statements about math?  Parents will, almost proudly, say things to me like  “I was terrible at math so I’m not surprised that little David is having so much trouble with math.”  Further, not only is it acceptable to make such a statement, it is practically a badge of honor for some parents when making such a claim.

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