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I wrote this post to highlight the decrease of english-speaking in India. I consider this very bad for India because it makes Indians less competitive in the global stage.

This is the only edge we have compared to other developing countries. It has helped us surge ahead of china (in some areas like IT, BPO or callcenters etc) which has now realised the importance of english and is giving it a great push.

the reasons of this discouraging of english are many.

1. There are some political parties active in the regional level which portray english as bad for indian culture and languages. They claim that english has resulted in people not giving importance to their own mother-tongue. Uneducated people believe this and vote for these politicians. Such politicians implement policies that hamper the growth of english education. Indian government schools for example, are all non english.

2. There is also considerable level of english-bashing in regional movies. English speakers are portrayed negatively. They are shown as rich kids who drink and smoke and engage in other immoral activities.

3. Citizens are also to be partly blamed here, parents are supposed to tell their kids about the importance of english.

There is a wrong notion prevailing in some parts of India. An English speaker is seen as a person who shuns his/her traditional culture. This is just wrong and has to stop.

Through the course of my student life, I have witnessed the change of languages spoken by other students in India.

I studied in an english-medium school. When I was in middle school, we all used to speak in engish. english in the classrooms, in the playground…english everywhere. The only time I did not speak in english was when I came back home.

In high school, it all changed. After grade 5, 90% of the students started gradually making the switch to their local language. by grade 10, there was absolutely no english.

College was no different. No English speakers there too.
Now I am in doing my bachelors in engineering (computer science). apart from me, there is not a single guy who can hold a conversation in english for just 5 minutes. They cant even form sentences. They cannot make out past tense from present tense. But they get very high grades in tests.

They love to get technical, they love math (mental math).

This pattern is very common in India. We produce a lot of engineers who are very hardworking, technical people but not good at managing or innovating.

Such students know that the only skill that they have are technical skills. They know their options are limited.
So in a class of 70, nobody can speak decent english, but all of them get good grades(b/w 65% and 80%). Among them, they are some (around 5 in my class) who get extraordinarily high grades (>80%). So only these 5 students tend to get selected for a job. Because of the global financial crisis, only the cream of the class get selected. Even otherwise, its quite hard to get a job in the software industry in india.

So having good communication skills may help the others get a job too but they will not try to change. They find it just too hard. They have grown up with no english exposure. So they find it really hard.

I think the government should do something to address this issue. We should start with english in government schools.

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One Comment

  1. First of all, I don’t understand why should the government get involved in EVERYTHING? I agree that there are things which need to be addressed to issues like making sure all the students study English as one of the languages. But, look at the difference in attitude among students itself. Almost all the time, I see people mixing hindi with english. For example, “What I’m trying to tell is, ki, if we try to do it this way, we can finish faster. Understood, na?” Sounds familiar? 🙂 It’s the attitude of the people. Like you mentioned, parents should take the necessary steps to inculcate good communication skills, but ultimately, it all depends on the kid’s friends.

    I got this link through the tags in your post: http://quirkyindian.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/well-at-least-his-hearty-is-in-correct-place-na/ You’ll get a fair idea what you are talking about 😉

    Don’t get too frustrated about these blokes who can’t speak properly. You’ll get to meet only these kind of managers in the corporate world. Just be yourself and let us continue speaking english, not hingliss or kanglish 😀


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