Essay : Launching Communicative English at Higher Level

Launching Communicative English at Higher Level

Introduction : In the modern world English language has achieved the prestige of being international language. It has crossed the national borders to reach people who speak other languages. It is no longer the possession of the British or the Americans or other native speakers, but a language that belongs to the whole world's people. Statistics show that about 350 million people speak English as a first language and another 300 million use it as a second language. It is the official and semi-official language in more than 60 countries and of many international institutions. At present, it has become "Lingua Franca" that makes everything comfortable, and usable with its free communicative procedure.

Education through English in our country : Education during the last one hounded and fifty years in this sub-continent meant English education. Universities apart, the High schools used to be called High English schools. But after the independence of Bangladesh, there was a widespread agitation against English. People wanted that English should be replaced by vernacular in Bangladesh and with this end in view, Bengali was declared as our state language. But after thirty-four years of independence, we found that we are not yet able to do away with English.

Contribution of English to our civilization : Before we bid farewell to English we must think of some problems that we may have to face. English has a rich literature. Modern Bengali literature and modern Banglai culture is largely the product of the contact with English literature. It is this contact which has brought us the best ideas of the West. If we stop studying English, there is every possibility that we shall be cut off from the tide of modern Western civilization. All that is best in European and American thought is available through English, and if that source is dried up, we shall go backwards and no one can encourage such a possibility.

Disadvantage : Modern science which is advancing by leaps and bounds is a gift of the West. If we do not know some of the European languages, we shall not be able to join the progressive forces of the world. Recently some universities attempted at teaching science through the vernacular but the efforts have met with little success. The attempt is worth persevering in, and it is hoped that Bangli will soon be rich enough to convey scientific notions. But it is doubtful if even then higher education will be able to do away with English altogether. If English is banished, we will have to depend on translations. But it is not easy to translate the books on science, medicine and engineering. Again translation is no substitute for the original. So the intellectuals of our country accepted English to share the rapid progress of Western civilization.

Its drawbacks : After independence, situations have changed. Some of our students who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth are getting the opportunity of learning English in a few famous English medium schools. They are paying most of their attention to learning this second language. On the other hand, it has given our country some expert hands in English. But it has brought some demerits for us too. Over importance given to English by those fortunate learning has hampered the progress of our vernacular. Secondly, they are occupying the posts of the best and coveted jobs in our country. As a result students from middle and lower middle classes and students of rural areas, in particular, are being deprived of those higher positions. Our unequal education system is largely liable to create the difference between the two classes of people.

Necessity of learning English : The need of English as a second language is a pragmatic demand of the modern world. To maintain official activities we need a second language. This is because official activities have been running in all sections preferably in English since the British rule. So to maintain daily official correspondence English is essential. Today more than 80% of all information is in English. English helps the international community and the business world to communicate across national borders. Different organizations frequently need employees who speak and write a standard form of English. International co-operation and peace, activities concerning foreign trade, foreign investment etc. cannot be fulfilled without English.

Communicative English for today : For the average educated people of our country the reading of English language in English literature or any English research book is not necessary. What we need is simple colloquial English for our daily communication. In other words, it is communicative English which we can fluently use in our real-life situation. During the British regime, our forefathers learned English through grammar-translation and memorizing method. At present attempts have been made in different procedure so that the second language speakers can use it for their daily needs. This process includes all four skills of learning the language-reading, writing, speaking and listening. These skills should be practiced in equal proportion so that we can use it as our mother language. It is true that we cannot learn English in the same way we learn our mother language. We must have some conscious attempt, carefulness and grammatical rules to acquire skill over the language.

Period of learning English : The best period to retain English as a subject of study is after the primary level when the boys and girls are able to express themselves in the mother tongue. Considering all the relevant factors English has been made compulsory in our country from Secondary to Degree levels. English has also been selected as a non-major subject for honours students so that they can be skilled in the language and apply it in practical life and in income generating jobs being class one citizens of the country.

Bad influence of coaching centers : Thousands of coaching centers are conducting various courses on English. But those who teach English are mostly students and not expert at all in are hasty to avail themselves of the opportunity of earning at the cost of learning. They are deceiving our students in the name of teaching English.

Conclusion : In order to transform our vast population to working force we need studying English in Higher Level. Our Govt. has taken positive steps towards the programme. But to teach communicative English at high school and college levels we need experienced and well-trained teachers in proportion to our learners. We have scarcity of teachers let alone experts. So it is crying need to time to increase the number of teachers and to train them well so that they can advance towards this noble mission of nation building activity.
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