For the last 50 years language has been treated as a very sensitive issue in our country. During the Pakistani period the Pakistani regime wanted to suppress the rights of Bengali people. Their main attention was focused on Bangla. After the independence this problem no longer existed. However, in the last few years we find that English is becoming the most dominating language in the realm of higher education. There are now more than 16 private universities in the country. In all of them, the medium of instruction is English. Even in the public universities a shift towards English has been taking place for sometime. For example those students who study BBA or Computer Science in different colleges and Institutes under National University have to study in English.

In the SSC and HSC level adequate importance is not given to English in the curriculum. As a result most of the students remain weak in this language. They find a lot of difficulties in higher education. It is known to us all that there is an acute shortage of quality textbooks or reference books in Bangladesh in the graduate level.

The condition is worse in computer education. Nor we can find enough translations. So the students have to depend on memorization in higher studies where creativity and individual perception should have been the main features of our students. The reality is that English was and still the language of higher education and the majority of the students are weak in English. As a result it is causing a great problem to our educational standard. We need to solve this problem as soon as possible.

In Hons. Or Masters level the students have to read a lot of textbooks and reference materials. If a student cannot read English books fast enough and understand properly then he may pass the exam but would surely lack a lot of skills and information that we get from institutional education. Thus when they enter into the job market they lack productivity. Spoken English is another area where most us suffer terribly. Thus it is difficult for most of our students to achieve international standard in their respective fields after they finish their studies.

To tackle this situation, a course of English Language has been introduced in Hons. Level in Dhaka University and National University for most of the students with the aim to increase the skill of the students in this regard. However, this move has not proved to be that much effective. The problem still continues. In the private universities the students have to study 2 or 3 courses on English Language no matter which subject they study. For the weak students they have arrangements for intensive course. Still this problem exists. Actually it is very difficult to make a difference in English Language skills in higher education if adequate steps are not taken in Primary, Secondary and Higher Secondary levels.

It is easy to say that substantial improvements have to be made in English Language teaching and learning in the lower early stages of the educational system. However, it is extremely difficult to implement any plan for several reasons. First of all, any change would need a lot of money. Secondly, an acute shortage of experts on Applied Linguistics exists in Bangladesh. Most of the students who complete their Masters in English every year come from Literature background. Only 20 or 30 students come from Applied Linguistics and ELT background or popularly known as English language stream. National University is yet to introduce this stream. There is no doubt or controversy that we need more teachers from Applied Linguistics and ELT (English Language Teaching) background in the school and college level. Implementing universal use of audio- visual materials is another problem as only 20% of the population have access to electricity. Thus problems like scarcity of resources, shortage of skilled teachers and weak infrastructure are to blame for this national crisis. It’s almost impossible to solve this problem in the near future but we don’t have any choice but to increase the skills of English Language of our students at to a substantial level without any delay. Or else we would continue to pay a heavy price. A good portion of the university graduates is considered not skilled enough in the job market especially in the private sector only for being weak in English Language.

In this age of globalization we cannot ignore English especially at a time when we are embracing free market economy. University graduates are considered to be the most important part of human resources of any country. Therefore, we have to ensure that they become skilled in English so that they can bring out the maximum from their respective fields as well become fit for the job market.


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