People thronging institutes to gain knowledge of French, German or Hindi

People are thronging language teaching institutes in the city to equip themselves with the knowledge of an additional language to improve their career prospects.

Institutes teaching French and German have mushroomed in the city in the last 10 years and have found takers among college students, working professionals, senior citizens and homemakers. “While we also teach basic French and German, our Hindi course attracts students who aim to tap into the vast job market in north India,” says S. Mahalingam, founder-partner of Venus Institute.

Most language experts feel knowledge of a language other than one’s mother tongue and English is an added advantage when it comes to broadening one’s professional horizon. “Our students mainly comprise doctors, nurses and engineers who are learning French to migrate to Canada for job opportunities,” says Milton Powers, a professor of French at the Alliance Francaise of Madurai.

“People who learn a foreign language can explore lucrative careers in multinational corporations which need interpreters and translators. Openings in the tourism industry as tourist guides and tour escorts in Madurai which attracts thousands of tourists every year is also there,” Mr. Powers says.

The number of educational institutions offering French has witnessed an increase in the city, giving rise to need for qualified French teachers. Kannan Raman, a French teacher who studied at the Alliance Francaise-Madurai, teaches 300 students at Velammal Vidyalaya and Maharishi Vidya Mandir. “In the initial days, I had a class of only six students. A foreign language has great appeal among students now and many are choosing to capitalise on the option to learn it in school,” he says.

While a few institutes offer short-term courses in German, it is yet to become popular among students. “More institutes are needed to teach the language to engineering students who may wish to pursue their postgraduate courses in Germany,” a language tutor said.

Fulltime now

The American College has jumped onto the language bandwagon by introducing fulltime three-year courses in French and Hindi. Victor Packiyaraj, Head of the French Department, says the response has been overwhelming and the college expects to have a minimum of 40 students.

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