Foreign students’ poor English skills make Osmania teachers sweat - The New Indian Express

Foreign students’ poor English skills make Osmania teachers sweat

Published: 26th August 2013 09:54 AM

Last Updated: 26th August 2013 10:35 AM

It is well-known that the Osmania University is now one of the universities in the country which attracts a growing number of students from across the world. But, in the absence of entrance tests or other screening exercises, the university’s teachers think that admitting students who do not come from English-speaking background is proving to be counter-productive as the students are unable to cope with the courses which are all taught in the English medium.

As of now, foreign students who are admitted to the university, have to undergo a compulsory three-month English course, which is more or less a short language course to improve their skills to help them cope with their subjects. “I had, in fact, proposed to the higher-ups that there must be some sort of a test for admitting students. The three-month course is not helping them as many foreign students are simply not up to the mark,” says Mallesh Sankasala, principal of the Arts College, Osmania University.

Many foreign students come without basic English language skills. “The situation plays out at the time of examinations: students do not score well and then wonder why,” Mallesh points out.

Suresh Kumar of the English department, suggests that there should be a ‘bridge’ course for foreign students. “Basically, they should have a two- or three-month course in their subjects of study before they actually attend classes. That will help them for sure,” he says.

A Srinivas, a student at the Arts College, says that many foreigners find it hard to communicate with fellow students as their English is weak. “They study hard but  score less. This makes them, at times, argue with teachers. Even those who come from rural backgrounds in India fare better than them”, he observes. Mallesh goes a step further to say that a national policy should be formulated to screen students seeking to study in India.

“Maybe even Osmania University can conduct its own test and set an example because many foreign students opt for courses in English literature and linguistics which require sharp skills in the language,” he says. “The major problem is that they learn English as a foreign language and when I was heading the faculty of the three-month courses, we had to begin with alphabets,”  Kumar recalls.

To the cash-starved university, however, foreign students are the golden geese and one of the major sources of income. “It is becoming more and more difficult to get University Grants Commission’s grants, and the foreign students bring in wads of money. Admitting such students is not desirable but we have little choice. If we turn them away, they will go somewhere else  and we will lose the revenue,”  an official lays bare the truth.

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