'English speaking Indians compete with British youth for better jobs'

Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash on Thursday heaped praises on Indian youth for making strides in acquiring English communication skills, giving stiff competition to British youths in acquiring jobs.

Delivering convocation address during the 15th Convocation ceremony of the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) held at Kalamandir here, Prakash said that the achievements of the Indian youths, was in sync with the famous lines of Thomas Babington Macaulay in 1835, which became the reason for the introduction of English education in India.

“Macaulay who came to India as a legal member in the Governor-General’s council had drafted thus -- the best way to perpetuate British rule was to get Indians to learn English and make them part of the workforce that would serve the British empire. Now, after 200 years, it has become a reality, with most Indian youth from diverse backgrounds, urban and rural parts learning not just the language, but also the British accent. The very accent has enabled them to land jobs at call centres catering to British railways and other such enterprises. As a result, British youths have lost their opportunities to Indians. Britain is even looking for English teachers from its former colonies, including India,” he said.

At the same time, Indians have rediscovered the significance of their own languages and have picked up English as an additional language. “English has also boosted their self-confidence to explore business and job opportunities across the world.”

In his advise, Prakash exhorted KSOU authorities to think out of the box on the lines of western countries. Students should be encouraged to take any set of courses at the graduation level, and the varsity should also consider the new systems of examining students to reduce the stress during annual exams. “It will give wider opportunities for the students to explore the less trodden paths, and liberate their minds,” he added.
Stating that Indian education system had grown manifold ever since the nation became independent in 1947, Prakash said that according to the all India survey on higher education conducted in 2012-13, the country has 665 universities, 35,829 colleges, and 11,443 educational institutions.

However, Prakash cautioned that, there was a continuous thrust on quality education, which seems to have been ignored while achieving quantitative growth.
Prakash also dwelt upon the education scenario in India during, and before colonial era, ancient India, and after independence.

In his address, M K Surappa Director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar, who was conferred a honorary DLitt, wanted KSOU to identify talents in remote areas. He was happy to note that the enrolment of students in the universities had seen an upward trend, surpassing other countries like USA and China. The online programmes have been beneficial in meeting the requirements of the students, he added.

Another DLitt recipient and writer Vaidehi advised the university to chalk out programmes to conserve Kannada language. She dedicated the honour to those women who have been braving the odds and enduring pressing moments with the sole aim of liberating fellow women from the shackles of difficulties.

A total of 28,007 candidates were presented with various degrees during the convocation, with 17,314 women in the lead, against 10,693 men. Among them, 18,757 were conferred master degrees, 9,231 bachelor degrees and 1,371 diploma certificates. A total of 34 medals and 24 prizes were shared by 37 candidates in five streams, followed by 19 candidates who received PhD  degrees in 11 subjects.

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