About 67% engineers in India do not have spoken English skills required for any job in knowledge economy. Though they do relatively better in vocabulary and understanding English, engineers are deficient in elements of spoken English such as fluency, pronunciation and grammar. English fluency is one of the key qualities recruiters look for during interviews. No wonder candidates with English skills above the local average stand out from the crowd and garner 30-50% higher salaries than similarly qualified candidates without English skills. Aspiring Minds, a leading employability credentialing firm, surveyed English skills of 30,000 engineers across 500 engineering colleges with the aid of a telephonic 20 minute automated spoken English test measuring spoken English (pronunciation, fluency, vocabulary, grammar, spoken English comprehension, etc.) and active listening skills. They released the National Spoken English Skills (SES) of Engineers report on the state of spoken English capabilities in young engineers and how their employability is affected by their Spoken English skills. ALARMING SITUATION A staggering 97% engineers in India cannot speak English required for jobs in corporate sales and business consulting. About 61% engineers possess grammar skills no better than a class VII student. Over 51% engineering graduates are not employable based on their spoken English scores. Not more than 7% engineers can speak English with fluency that renders speech meaningful. These engineers show ability to speak and respond spontaneously. They can speak fluently, with good pronunciation and proper sentence construction. Spoken English ability of candidates decreases in campuses in lower tier cities, with tier 3 campuses showing the most degradation. Engineering students in metro cities do much better in spoken English skills than those in the non-metro cities. Nevertheless, spoken English skills remains a big challenge in IITs and National Institute of Technology as well. English is the global language of business and enterprise. With jobs going global, the importance of English has increased manifold. English is now a medium of communication at both international and intra-national levels.Proficiency in English, particularly spoken English, must be seen as a necessary skill and not as a post - colonial irksome relic which has to be done away with. Pronunciation and fluency are the major barriers in effective Spoken English.This signals theneed for emphasis not only on written English but also on Spoken English skills.If you are a science student aspiring to be an engineer, or have just cracked the JEE, you may well be familiar with the trends emerging from the above survey. It should also spur you to action.

Vinod Agarwal, 24 July, 2017 (7:27 AM)

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