[lg policy] Engineering students nudged to earn extra credits in English

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue May 29 10:33:05 EDT 2018


 Engineering students nudged to earn extra credits in English
Somdatta Basu
<https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toireporter/author-Somdatta-Basu-15331.cms>
| TNN | May 29, 2018, 08:24 IST
[image: Representative image]Representative image
KOLKATA: From this year, private engineering college students
<https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/private-engineering-college-students>
who are weak in English will be nudged to choose the language from a
bouquet of soft-skill courses that they will be required to pursue to earn
an additional 20 credits, which would eventually fetch them a ‘BTech with
honours’ degree.

As per new proposals, all students will be required to earn 160 credits
during the four-year course to get a BTech degree. The additional 20
credits will earn them a ‘BTech with honours’ degree. And, teachers will
advise students weak in English to earn these extra 20 credits in the
language.

TimesView

A large section of Bengal's tech graduates may not have adequate English
communication skills. That the problem exists is a fact; several
generations of Bengal board students have suffered because of changes
effected in the English-language policy by earlier regimes. But the
solutions may differ. It is a matter of debate whether training at the
undergraduate level can make up for inadequate learning at the primary
level. But the education minister's suggestion to private engineering
colleges indicates that the government knows there is a problem. The right
to way to fix this may be to start early; the quality of English-language
training that students receive right at the primary level must be improved.


The proposals for the 2018-19 academic sessions have been drawn up by the
Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT), to which all
private engineering colleges are affiliated.

While earning the additional 20 credits to secure a ‘BTech with honours’ is
still optional, the university plans to persuade colleges to make it
compulsory.

“Those not earning the additional points will get just BTech degree. But if
teachers find that a candidate needs to improve English knowledge,
presentation, communication, group writing or group activities skills then
they will have to earn the extra 20 credits in the language,” said
vicechancellor of MAKAUT, Saikat Maitra.

Students can choose soft-skill subjects

According to MAKAUT VC Saikat Mitra, every attempt would be made to bring
about changes in the teaching system to help students improve their English
skills. “For instance, students will be told to make presentations in the
class. This will help improve their chances at cracking interviews that
require soft skills and proficiency in English,” Mitra said.

The students will be free to choose their soft-skill course, which will be
taught digitally, from a wide range of subjects like artificial
intelligence, cryptography, professional communication, personality
development, how to make better presentations, big data, data science,
introduction to computer programming and English, among others. Teachers
would guide the students to pick a subject from this bouquet.


Recommended By Colombia

Association of Professional Academic Institutions (APAI), which is the
representative of all self-financed engineering and technological
institutions in West Bengal, has agreed to the proposals drawn up by the
university.


“As the education minister has suggested, we plan to hold discussions with
MAKAUT authorities. Time permitting, we plan to suggest MAKAUT to allow us
to hold additional English classes over the weekend or everyday after all
classes get over,” APAI president Taranjit Singh said.


[image: credited]


State education minister Partha Chatterjee had on Sunday urged private
engineering colleges to introduce a sixmonth English crash course for
students to increase their employability. He said, “Engineering seats in
Bengal have increased substantially. Yet, engineers are not getting jobs.
An engineer had even approached me for a Rs 5,000 per month job. For over a
decade-and-a-half English was not taught at the primary level, eroding the
bases of a generation of students. These courses, therefore, would help
students,” he said Chatterjee said while this was only a suggestion, it
would help students go a long way. He added that hi


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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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