English language training in India pegged for significant growth
With evidence demonstrating that English language fluency opens the doors to greater employment opportunities and higher income among its graduates, demand for English Language Training (ELT) is on the rise in India.
India’s government regards improved English proficiency as a key plank in maintaining the nation’s competitiveness in a fierce global marketplace. And, with India revamping its education policies and signaling a new openness towards international collaboration, foreign partnerships in the provision and delivery of ELT programmes are only expected to grow.
English proficiency levels an issue
A 2012 report by the British Council noted that while English is widely perceived as a valuable life and employability skill among Indians, India ranked only 14th out of 54 countries in a global survey of English proficiency conducted by EF (Education First) placing it in the category of “moderate proficiency”. (Note that the 14th-place ranking refers to an earlier edition of the proficiency survey. The latest EF survey ranks India 25th of 63 nations.)
The report also quotes David Graddol, author of the book English Next India, who argues that a shortage of English language teaching in schools has hindered proficiency levels and is causing India to lose its competitive edge to other developing countries. Indian universities fall far short of rival countries in teaching and research quality, he says, and “poor English is one of the causes.”
The report’s authors note as well that Aspiring Minds, a company that focuses on assessing student employ-ability, found that about 78% of 55,000 Indian graduates surveyed in 2011 struggle in the English language.