Aspiring Minds, conducted a survey ‘The National Spoken English Skills of Engineers Report’ amongst 30,000 engineers across 500 engineering colleges. The results says engineering students lack in English speaking skills, which is one major reason why they do not get jobs.
According to the study, 97% of engineers in the country cannot speak English and about 67% of engineers graduating from India’s colleges do not possess spoken English skills required for any job in knowledge economy.
The major issue is concerned with tier 2 and tier 3 colleges including Indian Institutes of Technology and National Institutes of Technology as well, where spoken English skills is a big challenge.
Gautam Biswas, director, IIT Guwahati says, “We get students from different backgrounds and regions, and they are mostly not comfortable with English. Quite a few students appear for the joint entrance examination in their mother tongue. It becomes very difficult for them to follow the curriculum.”
A shift in the education system:
Engineering skills are of utmost importance, however, the focus from soft skills has completely shifted to main streams is one of the reasons behind poor English speaking skills of the students. He quoted, “Over the years, the focus in the education system has shifted to Chemistry, Math, & Physics. Focus on soft skills has reduced. Students may lose out on good job prospects as many companies come to campuses for global positions as well.”
Metro VS Non Metro Cities:
According to the study, the situation is more problematic in the non-metro cities. “As expected the spoken English ability of candidates becomes worse, on average, in campuses in lower-tier cities,” said Varun Aggarwal, co-founder and chief technology officer, Aspiring Minds.
Kushal Sen, dean — faculty at IIT Delhi, also affirms that “A majority of our students may not have the problem of speaking in English but about 30% need to be groomed when it comes to soft skills,” he said.
As per the report, only 6.8% engineers show the ability to speak or respond spontaneously.
Key problems faced by engineers are:
- Fluency skills
- Sentence construction
Recruiters and HR managers report that candidates with English skills above the local average stand out from the crowd and garner 30-50% higher salaries than similarly qualified candidates without English skills, according to Aggarwal. “The trends in India are no different, with English fluency being one of the key qualities recruiters look for during the interview,” he said.
Initiation by Institutes:
In the past two-three years, NIT Trichy has taken corrective measures in this regard. “Students not able to speak or even understand lectures in English is a major problem,” said Srinivasan Sundarrajan, director. The institute organizes bridge courses, workshops and orientations for the students. “The seniors at our institute too help out juniors,” said Sundarrajan.