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Enhancing English skills of tertiary students

Public universities fueled by linguistic nationalism adopt mother language as their medium of instruction while private universities adopt English as a medium of instruction to open up global opportunities for students.
Alaul Alam
Enhancing English skills of tertiary students

The fourth industrial revolution is looming. Many countries in the world are working to redesign their education to cope with the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.

Certainly, many may get involved in a debate that why we are considering the looming revolution as the challenges instead of taking advantages out of it.

It is no denial that the fourth industrial revolution will be a boon to the global community but without enormous preparations of the humanity in every sector, challenges will be more pervasive than the benefits in this era. Obviously, every sector will be influenced but the education of a country will perform the key responsibility to enhance the adaptability of the citizens.

Universities must produce quality graduates equipped with many soft skills to combat the looming challenges in the fourth industrial revolution. With many soft skills, achieving the expected English knowledge is given priority at tertiary level of education by most non-native countries to produce the graduates of the global standard.

Bangladesh is not the exception to this policy. English education has been compulsory for the undergraduate students in their first year programme. But many countries in the world are not merely confined to introducing English courses; rather they have introduced English as a medium of instruction at tertiary education. In our country public and private universities are not identical in case of adopting the medium of instruction. There is no clear instruction regarding the adoption of the MOI in our country.

Public universities fueled by linguistic nationalism adopt mother language as their medium of instruction while private universities adopt English as a medium of instruction to open up global opportunities for students. Certainly, to produce efficient graduates there is no alternative to introducing English medium instruction at tertiary level of education.

But in our educational setting how far English medium instruction contributes to maximizing learning outcomes of the students has been a constant debate over the years. It is evident that most students with their Bangla medium background undergo huge difficulties to continue their higher education through English medium instruction.

However, as a teacher of Prime University I see that this university is an example of enhancing English language skills for students. This university has not only confined its policy to adopting English as a medium of instruction, rather it has implemented many initiatives to make English medium instructions easier and pleasing to the students.

Prime University has made a unique platform for the national and international students. Apart from credit English courses assigned by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the university is providing non-credit English courses for the students. Students irrespective of any discipline are finding scopes to enhance themselves with English language skills.

In every language class teachers adopt the technology integrated pedagogy which ensures the maximum learning outcomes. In the tech-based pedagogy, students play active role in the class being facilitated by their teachers and they do not depend on the teachers’ lectures all the time, rather they are found to enjoy freedom while they are in the class.

The university has developed an updated English language curriculum and the teachers are well-trained to take their class following outcome-based classroom pedagogy. Outcome-based education is being prioritized by the UGC in the most recent time. In teaching four skills of English language, communicative approach is highly emphasized. Students are encouraged to learn through mistakes in this approach.

Every teacher while teaching English language plays the role of a facilitator and ensures student-centric environment that contributes to enhancing students’ ability to use language appropriately in different circumstances. One thing is very apparent that English teaching and learning is not merely confined to some prescribed books, rather every student sees scopes to take part in the interactions inside and outside the class.

English department is one of the prestigious departments of the university, headed by Professor Dr. Mohammad Arshad Ali. Dr. Ali along with a team of highly qualified teachers is working to make English department an excellent abode in the arena of English teaching and learning.

On top of that, Language School of the university is helping the mission to enhancing English skills of the students greatly. The faculty members of Language School are conducting different courses on English language apart from offering courses on some foreign languages.

Different language clubs and English language centre are regularly organizing workshops and seminars to enable students to become better public speakers and greater writers. In these organizations, students see their scopes to develop their skills to express themselves professionally using creativity. Apart from this, the university organizes different training and seminars for the graduates to enhance their presentation and other pragmatic skills to prepare them in the competitive job market.

After the end of every semester and during the semester different departments of the university arrange various language enhancing activities such as extempore speech, debates, presentation, quiz test, and storytelling, etc. These activities help students to be public speakers and remove the challenges they face while speaking English. Not only that, different departments arrange essay and story writing completion at the end of every semester. Again, to cherish their writing skills, students can write in the university magazines and newsletters.

The university is funding to the research enormously.  Apart from conducting studies on various issues, action researches are being conducted by the faculties to enhance classroom pedagogy with a view to enhancing students’ English skills.

Thanks to Md. Ashraf Ali, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the university who is patronizing all the initiatives required to enhance students’ English skills and working to produce quality graduates. In the same vein, Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Jahangir Alam is working to make this university one of the model private universities in the country.

Obviously, the journey of the university to enhance students’ English skills is not smooth at all. Frankly speaking, it is not hard to take the students who are good at English to a better position but it is more challenging to take the relatively weak students to a better position. The university is doing such a tremendous work and has already achieved success to a great extent.

The writer teaches at Prime University. He is also a research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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