English is the most widely spoken language in the world. There is no secret about it. It is the language for International Communication and International business. Whether it is for work or socializing, English is the key language.
While a child’s mother tongue is important, and learning in the mother tongue at an early level helps the child understand and learn things better, I would like to add that laying the foundation in English at an early stage helps a person to overcome some of life’s challenges when it comes to employability etc., they might face at a later stage in their life.
We talk about the unemployment rate going up. However in reality, there are many jobs available in the corporate sector, but sadly there are only a few who can fit in. The main draw back being that the others cannot communicate in English.
I spent over 20 years as a Placement Consultant. Every Corporate that I worked with specifically asked for “good communication skills” in the Candidates that I referred to them. No one was willing to compromise on that. In the recent years, I have noticed that many who approached me for jobs, found it very difficult to communicate in English. As a result their confidence levels were also very low. So how are we going to bridge this gap between the demand for people with communication skills, and the shortage of these people?
In February 2019, The Tamil Nadu Assembly called for applications for 14 positions of Sweepers. Of the applications they received 4600 were either Engineers or MBAs.
Later in 2019 (maybe Nov) the Coimbatore Corporation advertised for 549 positions of Sweepers. Of the applications received, 3500 had completed their graduation, and 500 were professional degree holders.
This is indeed a very sad situation. I am sure this would not have happened, if these applicants were able to communicate in English. They would have certainly got jobs suitable to their education, and would not have applied for these above-mentioned jobs. I am not looking down on these jobs, but I believe in finding the right fit or right job, for every person.
Good English communication skills will also help students understand what is being taught and also help them take up courses that are in line with their interests, rather than blindly doing Engineering and then further doing an MBA from any college that offers them a seat. It is not about the degrees that one acquires, it is about their employability.
We are a country with diverse languages. If we need to compete globally, we need to focus on developing students from a young age and empower them with good communication (both written and spoken) skills in English.
Dr. Elizabeth Surekha
Career Counselor and Career Coach at Serene Careers.