Ruth Gee talks about reading and processes to enhance cross-cultural exchange between India and England
‘In the history of humankind those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed'- Charles Darwin
And Ruth Gee, Regional Director of the India – Sri Lanka region, lives life by this principle. “Constant adaptation and evolution is the key to survival. Being a teacher of English language I cannot say the ‘short text' lingo is wrong. But at the same time I cannot use that language while addressing a letter to the Government of India. Usage of right tool for the right occasion and moment is intelligent application.
“Language has its own protocol and one needs to follow it. What is important is to communicate clearly by using different registers for different mediums,” she says.
On a day-tour to the city, Ruth was sure about skipping questions about admissions, and university queries and her take on India. “I have hardly had the time to look around so don't even ask me if I have seen the city,” she shrugs. Instead what peps this lady up is queries on English language, books and reading habits. “Development is a global trend and English is a genuine international language. In reality, learning any language by divorcing it from the culture is not possible. To cater to these sections, British Council conducts various activities to enable proper cross cultural exchange between two countries.”
Ruth Gee moved to New Delhi, in September after spending six years in Hong Kong. An English teacher for 10 years, she says ‘she values the importance of open and transparent communications.' Before joining the British Council in 2000, Ruth was the Chief Executive of the British Training International, which marketed UK vocational qualifications and engaged with vocational education reform throughout the world, including Gujarat.
Celebrating 75 years of British Council in India, Ruth says “British Library will be launching 75 books. We will soon unveil David Graddol's study on English language in India. His study is on the many types of ‘English' in India and each being legitimate,” explains Ruth.
Talking about reading habit and culture in India, Ruth says there is an increase in the children and family section. “Children's section is getting popular and this looks like a good indicator. Reading habit depends on PACT-Parents and Children and Teacher, the key to make develop reading is to make the source available. To read one need not be rich, you don't need investment, reading is about broader access. Recycle books and the world will turn wiser,” she says.