The higher education department plans to introduce a common updated English syllabus to all undergraduate courses in the state to help students improve their command over the language. The new syllabus will focus more on listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.
The course, likely to be renamed English for communication, will be common across the state for first year UG students from 2020-21. As per the proposed changes, UG students will learn prose, poetry, and non-detail only in the second year.
It is also planning to introduce a mandatory course called Professional English for commerce, management, life sciences, physical sciences, arts, and sciences. The course is expected to familiarise students with vocabulary related to their subjects and will be taught by subject teachers.
“A majority students do not complete their degrees within three years due to high number of failures in English. They lack basic skills like reading, writing, and comprehension. A majority passing out of college are also not able to converse in English due to rote learning. The updated uniform syllabus will make sure all students master basic skills and master their subjects,” an official from the higher education department said.
With the introduction of a uniform syllabus, the department can record lectures of the best teachers and upload it to online platforms like YouTube. “(The new updated syllabus) will provide (students) a foundation to build on their capacities and understanding of their subjects. Once they are proficient, they can learn whatever they want, even Shakespeare,” the official added.
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Vice-chancellors approved the proposed changes at a higher education council meeting in February. The government has left it to universities to decide whether this would be an add-on course or core subject, as long as it is mandatory.
Some universities have asked subject experts in the board of studies to replace a core subject for first year UG students with Professional English.
While welcoming the bid to improve students’ proficiency in English, a few professors said introducing Professional English in place of a core subject will render many degrees invalid.
“Professional English course could be made a mandatory add-on course for undergraduate students. Replacing it in place of any major or core subject will alter the nature of degrees and students may face issues in the future,” a professor said.
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