That is literally the question being asked to students when they are unable to express themselves clearly at interviews. Better skills are needed, finds Reena Jhaveri.

“Which the industry are asking and the faculties are not taking up. They need to lift the students up with their expert knowledge and help them gain the power in the office.” That is an actual statement made by a candidate who, after passing an admission test was summoned for a group interview for admission to a popular management institute earlier this year. This candidate is not alone. He and many others are losing out on key positions, both in institutes and the industry due to lack of knowledge of English.

Computer applications  graduate Shankar Raghu has taken, and cleared, three bank recruitment examinations. The stage that is becoming frightful with each passing attempt for him is the interview stage. He is failing his interviews due to his faltering English. It is a clear cut case of the need to work harder and play attention to this skill as well, since many students are from vernacular schools. “Even peculiar is the problem of students who have studied in English, but yet talk as if the language belongs to their family, and twist it around,” says trainer Deepa Patil. Many educationists are of the opinion that many students fall behind in campus recruitment due to poor communication and English abilities. “The problem stems from the language. I teach communication and presentation skills to many classes in the city, but the effectiveness is diluted since there are only 10 sessions on offer, and 70 students in the class. You do the math,” says Preeti Choksi. “Many of my students are plagued with the problem at a much deeper level, but there is not enough time to help them with English. I can polish their skills, but the skills need to be present in the first place,” she laments.

When students go out for practical internships, often they have to work at grassroots level and do not see the importance of language and communication skills. Only when they miss out on an opportunity during recruitments, they realise that companies look for candidates who are fluent, articulate and confident.

It is now up to the students to supplement their knowledge with a strong base of English if they find themselves lagging. That proactive move will go a long way, opines Patil, since no higher education and professional institution will offer English as a main subject.

It goes for teachers too!

In a move to have teachers with adequate English skills on board, the government last week announced that they will be revising the curriculum of the Diploma in Education (DEd) course. This decision has come after many schools have closed down due to the dwindling number of students. And the numbers are a direct result of the quality of teachers employed by the school, according to Shivalinge Gowda of the JDS.

Admittedly, the problems are faced due to the fact that English is taught by teachers whose subject is not the language. Problems are bound to arise. Primary and secondary education minister Visvesvara Hegde Kageri, acknowledging such problems, said that new teachers will be recruited, and the curriculum will be altered so that teachers are better equipped.

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