Pakistan: Correlation between empowerment and English
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Sun Jun 10 16:06:25 UTC 2007
Correlation between empowerment and English By our correspondent
English has become a truly global language; hence more efforts are required
to impart quality skills to the world by those, who are experts in the
field. Its use in the domains of power: both public and private, its growing
significance owing to the revolution in the sphere of communication,
including Internet has increased the importance of the language manifold.
These views were put forward in an international seminar on "English and
Empowerment in the Developing World," organised by the Aga Khan University's
Centre of English Language, in its auditorium on Saturday.
Firoz Rasul, President Aga Khan University said that the theme was highly
relevant in the multilingual and multicultural societies where the learning
and teaching of an international language such as English, was essential for
various reasons. "The importance of English cannot be over-emphasised as it
has now become one of the few international languages in which nations
across the world teach higher education and conduct businesses" he pointed
out. He said that the present seminar was organised as a focal event by the
centre to help generate wide-ranging discussions on the issues and
challenges facing the role of the English language across the country. He
hoped that the two-day conference would evaluate useful recommendations for
the teaching of the English language and work towards the development of
some joint research proposals at the regional level.
Dr Edith Esch, Senior Research Fellow in Language Education, University of
Cambridge and the keynote speaker at the event said that it was impossible
to talk about the teaching of English and empowerment without looking at the
purpose of English education and the ability of learners to take on
responsibility for their own learning. She advised the teachers to begin
their own empowerment by learning more about the language and fortify the
loopholes in their linguistic capability. "The students will ask questions
and a teacher has to be ready with the answer. If the teacher fails the
test, students will not be impressed by him or her". The students also gain
an edge after excelling in the studies of the English language. "It opens
opportunities for them in the educational and financial fields". She talked
about human capital and the human capability approach, developed by the
Indian Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen.
Marcus Gilbert, Director, British Council Karachi spoke about the role of
the British Council in allowing Pakistani students to learn English, by
linking them with UK educational institutions. He said that the English
language had penetrated every sphere of life. The language of diplomacy,
aviation, education and the World Wide Web is English.
Prof Atta ur Rahman, Chairman Higher Education Commission was to be the
chief guest at the occasion but could not come, as he had to go back to
Islamabad to attend to matters of the state. David Taylor, Acting Provost
Aga Khan University, read his message.
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