Bangladesh: English is a 'global Google of knowledge'

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Sep 5 13:18:27 UTC 2006

from Metropolitan: Vol. 5 Num 810  Tue. September 05, 2006

'Launch awareness campaign to improve English language skills'
DU Correspondent

Speakers at a seminar yesterday called for a massive awareness campaign to
improve English language skills among younger generation in the context of
globalisation, knowledge-based society and the age of information
technology. They also expressed concern that the standards of teaching and
learning English in the country have fallen so abysmally that the majority
of younger generation could not adapt to a fast-changing and competitive
world due to the lack of proficiency in English. They identified the lack
of integrated policy and initiatives, incompetent teachers, inappropriate
syllabus and the lack of awareness and opportunities as major reasons
behind poor English language skills among the students in the country.

They also suggested adopting a bilingual approach, with both Bangla and
English recognised as important educational, business and public affairs
languages. The Brac University Institute of Educational Development
(BU-IED)  organised the seminar on 'English Language Teaching (ELT) in
Bangladesh:  Policy, Practice and Strategy' at the Brac Centre in the
city. British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury, The Daily Star Editor
Mahfuz Anam, British Council Acting Director Richard Sunderland and BU-IED
Director Dr Manzoor Ahmed addressed the seminar.

Consultant of English Language Teaching of BU-IED Prof M Shamsul Hoque,
Jaddon Park of BU-IED, Goutam Roy and Md Zulfeqar Haider of BU-IED and
Tripti Kana Dey and Md Nazrul Islam of National Academy for Primary
Education presented four keynote papers on the issue. They depicted
present state of English language teaching in the country, existing policy
and problems and placed some suggestions to address the issue. Addressing
the seminar, Anwar Choudhury said English is now something more than a
language; it is now an economy and 'global Google of knowledge'.

He assured that the UK and the British Council Bangladesh will continue to
provide all necessary cooperation for the government and non-government
organisations to help sustain the process of learning and teaching English
in the country. Mahfuz Anam said that geography has become irrelevant in
this world of information and communication technology and English has
become very important as an international language. But it is very
shocking that the quality of students has gone down and the teaching
quality of teachers is also alarming, he added.

Anam said it is high time to launch an allout initiative to raise
awareness about the need to learn English at all levels. Massive mass
awareness programme should be launched immediately involving the media
with series of seminars and workshops on the issue, he added.


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