MKU to focus on English-speaking ability for employability

Madurai is gearing up to give a major push to the English language.

Bowing to current trends in employment, the Madurai Kamaraj University and its affiliated colleges are putting their money on ‘English Language Labs’ to promote communication skills among undergraduate students, most of whom are from the rural areas.

Language lab

With the focus on spoken English, the university is in the process of setting up an English language lab for which Rs.30 lakh has been allotted by the State Government recently. Kalyani Mathivanan, Vice-Chancellor, told The Hindu on Saturday that the lab would be equipped with special CDs to enable students to listen to good English and help them improve their communication and pronunciation.

“We are keen to get the English lab ready before the start of the next academic year. Students should make use of the facility on a regular basis so that they will be able to pick up the basics,” she said.

Focus on English Department

The Vice-Chancellor felt that if students are able to speak in English, they will improve their self-confidence. She said that the English Department would be enhanced and given more visibility on the campus.

“Right now, some sections connected to this department are located in an isolated place.

Very soon, all of them would be housed in the same building,” she added. Dr. Kalyani Mathivanan urged the affiliated colleges to create more opportunities so that students can listen to English CDs to become familiar with the language.

Affiliated colleges

Affiliated colleges too have realised the importance of students conversing in English.

The Department of English at Yadava College, which draws more students with a rural background, has established a language lab with 50 computer systems.

C. Raju, Associate Professor, said that audio-visual facilities would enable undergraduate students acquaint themselves with grammar and correct pronunciation.

“We are focusing on fluency, conversation, body language and interview skills. In fact, our UG students have to compulsorily pass a Communicative English paper in their semester examinations,” Dr. Raju said.

Principal of Madura College, R. Murali, requested the Vice-Chancellor to keep the varsity’s English language lab open for students of affiliated colleges as well.

“Speaking in English has become inevitable and nobody can survive without it these days. We request the university to allot time slots for students of affiliated colleges.

Also, the University Grants Commission can provide more funding support to colleges to set up language labs,” he added.

Dr. Murali welcomed the MKU move to promote English learning activity and said that interactive CDs made learning effective.