British Council has launched two user-friendly programmes accessible on mobile phones and the Internet for learning the English language.

British Council India has launched two programmes aimed at making English language easily accessible to rural and semi-urban folks. “English on Mobile” and “EnglishStrokes” were launched by Applied Mobile Labs Private Limited (AMLPL) and AA Edutech, respectively. British Council has partnered with the two organisations to bring to fruition the ambition to take English learning to the Indian people. While English on Mobile is a mobile phone-based product, EnglishStrokes is a web-based programme. Both courses are certified by the British Council.

“English is important,” says Rob Lynes, director of British Council India. “More than 55 per cent of websites and two-thirds of the scientific journals published in the world are in English. The purpose of this project is to make use of digital platforms to make English available to all.” Banking on an estimated 150 million Internet users and 900 million cell phone users, the programme aims at providing new and increased opportunities to young people in India, international dimensions to education and better employability through English.

English on Mobile

Branded a first-of-its-kind product, English on Mobile helps one learn spoken English over just voice and SMS. It is available in beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. “It is an interactive product with trained English teachers, and close to 3,000 people are already using it,” says Mrigank Tripathi, CEO and founder of AMLPL. “A person anywhere in India will be able to learn British Council certified content, anytime, anywhere, through a cell phone.”

You don’t need a smartphone or the Internet to make use of this course. Mr. Mrigank says that anyone can access the product and an app is not necessary as limiting the product’s availability among smartphone and Internet users would not benefit the non-users. There are retail outlets that would sell the product and people can just walk in and buy it. The learner only needs to engage in the course content for five minutes, after which the schedule is flexible.

Currently, English on Mobile is available in Hindi-English, but will soon be available in five other languages.

EnglishStrokes

How can someone learn English through cricket, one wonders. AA Edutech had earlier launched Edustrokes, a digital learning space that incorporates learning of Math and Science with sports. Subsequently, Career Strokes was launched with the purpose of providing learning initiatives for employability and soft skills. Cricket Strokes is another arrow in the quiver of the digital education provider that offers online cricket coaching.

EnglishStrokes has the quintessential aspect of learning through fun. And to help you learn, it engages in dialogue among six virtual characters — Indie, Sohail, Sam, Matt, Maya and VJ — united by their love for cricket. The objective of the programme is to improve one’s grasp on English, be it vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation or communication. It is an activity-based programme and uses videos, games and animation to help one learn.

Former Indian cricketer Kris Srikkanth, who is the founder-director of AA Edutech, credits his son Adithyaa Srikkanth for being the brain behind the initiative. “The ideology when we started this project was to change the way people were learning and I think we’re getting there,” says Adithyaa. “We are content providers. We design it in an innovative manner and that’s what sets us apart. There is a need to raise the standards of education and we have managed to combine the two components — education and sports — and incorporate it into the content.”

“One of the most powerful languages is sports. And here in India, the most powerful among different sports is cricket,” says Martin Davidson, CEO, British Council. “Cricket is a language that the nation ‘speaks’ and what better way to learn English than through cricket.” Mr. Davidson went on to say that quality education and learning English is necessary as the chances of getting a good job and future prospects are better. The idea is to breach the barriers that keep people in remote areas in India from learning English. “There is a huge demand for learning English and we are simply responding to this demand.”