HYDERABAD : College students using technology-based models in improving spoken English showed 2.1 times improvement over the ones who have no English-language training. This is one of the insights that surfaced from a study conducted by Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Sattva Consulting on Monday. The results were of a study conducted two and half year pan-India study done between January 2017 to July 2019 for 14,000 final year college students.
The focus of the study was the urban youth job-seeker population, with a focus on Tier III and IV colleges with otherwise no access to job readiness coaching. The Foundation is focused on enabling children and youth in aspirational India to reach their goals through quality education and employment opportunities while Sattva is a consulting firm in the social impact sector. In the last decade, the importance of English has risen with an increase in the number of jobs that require fluency in spoken English.
In a 2012 survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, 70 percent of executives said their workforce will need to master English to realise corporate expansion plans, and a quarter said more than 50 percent of their total workforce would need English ability. Yet only four percent of men and two percent of women in wage employment in India report speaking fluently in English. The multi-year study conclusively shows that ed-tech is an effective, affordable, and scalable English-language learning tool that can improve employability for low-income, aspirational Indian youth at scale.
The results of this study have even greater relevance in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Given the economic impact of the crisis, there will be a stronger need for students to improve their chances of employability and their readiness to the market. In addition, the continued risk of the pandemic and the emerging reality of social distancing would mean the role of technology in education will continue to grow. Geeta Goel, Country Director – India, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation said. “The study demonstrates that technology is an effective tool for helping students learn to speak English at scale. This can translate into more aspirational jobs opening up for low-income students graduating from college.”