Staff Reporter

COIMBATORE: Nearly 19,000 candidates from the affiliated colleges of Anna University here, Coimbatore, took the Business Language Testing Service (BULATS) test as their semester examination recently.

This was part of the Cambridge ESOL examinations being offered tostudents as a result of the tie-up of Anna University, Coimbatore, EBEK (Excellence Business English Know how) Language Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., and University of Cambridge ESOL examinations.

The university would outsource English syllabus from EBEK, with certification by University of Cambridge. All students of the university and its affiliated colleges would follow this syllabus and would be assessed and certified by EBEK. A joint certificate of Anna University, Coimbatore, and the University of Cambridge would be given to students.

The examination was the second phase of the tie-up. For the first time, students were tested for listening skills. The first phase involved faculty training programmes for faculty of English discipline in the colleges. The teachers from affiliated colleges got oriented on the new syllabus and teaching methods of EBEK and transferred it to the students.

According to Vice-Chancellor R. Radhakrishnan, such an initiative of outsourcing an entire subject is one of its kind in the country. “When students enter colleges, the level of English knowledge they possess is not known. Also English is restricted to classrooms . Sometimes the subject itself is taught in Tamil. Teachers have to play an important role in doing away with this practice. The outsourced subject will involve a practical approach.”

The response from the teachers and students was positive. “Contrary to expectations, students welcomed the change and performed well. By next semester they will be more than comfortable with the format,” said a faculty member.