We pride ourselves for having one of the largest English speaking population in the world. We need to rethink that notion. It is probably the Hinglish that we are talking about and not English.
According to survey conducted by Aspiring Minds, majority of recently passed out Engineers in India lack the basic language competence required in Business as well as local environment.
The findings in the Aspiring Minds report are based on the objective test-attempt data of 55,000 engineering students from 250+ engineering colleges across multiple Indian states who graduated in 2011. All of them undertook AMCAT English, a competency-based standardized assessment of English developed by Aspiring Minds.
Comparison of English comprehension skills
According to the report, 25 to 35% engineers cannot even comprehend English used in day-to-day conversations. Given that Engineering curriculum and lectures offered are all in English, the level of knowledge transfer during classes is surely a huge concern for colleges and universities.
Nearly half of the Indian engineers (50% to 60%) are unable to construct grammatically correct sentences even for writing emails. In the context of employment, especially in the knowledge based Industry like Information Technology (where maximum number of engineers are recruited), written communication plays a very important role.
The report also finds that only one in four engineering graduates (27%) have superior grammar, comprehension and vocabulary command over English language. This is generally the level that is required for research and analysis profiles in the Knowledge Process Outsourcing industry. This level of competence is also required incase he/she is considering higher studies or studying abroad.
One of the reasons why we see this low level of competency in English language among Indian engineering graduates is because more than 90% of students complete their their school & high school studies in their local language. English comes in as 2nd language. When they enter Engineering, everything is taught in English without the use of local language. Given that their basics are weak, they graduate without much proficiency in English.
The report opines that to achieve good level of proficiency in English language four years of Engineering alone is not enough and the onus lies with schools to clear the basics and inculcate in students a love for reading and writing in the English language.