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Get job ready with English

- Varsities to improve communication skills of students

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 14: The higher education department has directed all universities and colleges in the state to introduce classes in communicative English to improve communication skills of students.

“This will prepare the students to face interviews and raise their level of confidence,” reads a letter from the department. Officials suggest that such classes may be run using the existing faculty members in English or by hiring resource persons if the need be. Director of higher education Satyakam Mishra said students from colleges in rural and semi-urban areas were still pursuing their higher secondary and degree courses in Odia medium. “Their deficiency in English language has not been properly addressed through remedial coaching. Colleges mostly misuse funds provided by the University Grants Commission for this purpose. Such coaching programmes undertaken by the colleges are never reviewed and there is no active involvement of college authorities,” he said.

The department has asked teachers that instead of dictating notes in the class without explaining the concepts concerned, they must prepare handouts containing a brief description of the topics and circulate them among the students ahead of a class. This is expected to help students familiarise themselves with a particular chapter before it is taught in class. “The teachers must explain and clarify doubts and ambiguities through interaction with the students and satisfactorily meet the queries of the students. All possible questions on the topic should be discussed in the class,” the letter reads.

Mishra pointed out that most faculty members, in their attempt to complete the syllabus, did not feel inclined to access the outcome of their teaching through interaction with their students. “In the process, teaching becomes monotonous and uninteresting for students. This has been the main reason for falling attendance in classroom and growing demand for private coaching classes,” he added.

In order to discourage rote learning, the department has suggested that questions be framed to test the skills of students in several fields, including reasoning and analysis, lateral thinking, creativity and judgment. Different types of questions should be set for testing of abilities of different categories of students.

Colleges have also been asked to incorporate vocational education and training in the syllabus of general higher education to increase the productivity and employability of the students. They must make new publications and books available in the library.

The department has sent this letter to the authorities of Utkal University in Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur University, Berhampur University, Fakir Mohan University in Balasore, North Odisha University in Baripada, Ravenshaw University in Cuttack, and principals of all government and non-government colleges.