Now, rural Bihar honing its English communication skills

Friday, February 11, 2011

MADHUBANI DISTRICT - Don’t be surprised if you get a greeting of Good morning rather than Namaste from pupils in Bihar’s essentially rural Madhubani District these days.

They are not discarding their culture, nor simply following the latest Western trend. Pupils and teachers of government high schools in Madhubani are honing their English as part of a spoken English and capacity building programme.

The project has been initiated by the State Council for Education Research and Training (SCERT) in four districts; Madhubani, Darbhanga, Banka and Bhagalpur.

The organization entrusted with the training is British Lingua, a Delhi based institute that has had close links with Bihar for a number of years.

The objective of the project, which is part of the Nitish Kumar State Government’s regeneration plan, is to enable students to compete with their more privileged counterparts in English medium schools and in the bigger cities.

There can be little better proof of the benefits and impact of the training than to see and hear the class IX pupils of Shree Baboola Yadav Plus 2 school in the remote Ekdara village under Khajauli block in the Madhubani district. They interact daily in English under the guidance of their teacher Subhadra Yadav.

Yadav has taken the skills she learned during the capacity building programme into the classroom, which has produced, as she says “a miraculous turnaround in the standard of English amongst the students”.

Subhadra Ma’am as her pupils call her, refuses to take the credit saying, “it has all been possible thanks to SCERT and British Lingua”.

Her dream was to see her pupils’ progress in English, and it has come true, she is now better able to impart spoken English skills to her students as a direct result of the training she received.

English as a key skill these days is undeniable, and one of the many aims of the training programme is to help teachers see how learning can be enjoyable and interactive for the pupils.

Not only is spoken English skills taught, a raft of activities comes into the scheme, including storytelling, poetry, publishing, conversation, body language, manners and creative analysis.

The basics too are covered in an interesting and stimulating way, grammar and sentence structures are shown with the use of clear day to day examples.

Vocabulary building and even pronunciation classes are imparted in an enlivening way involving games and competitions, giving teachers and pupils a new and refreshing view of the learning experience.

SCERT director Hassan Warris has also praised the training programme and the outcomes for both teachers and pupils. He stated that the impact was decidedly encouraging and added, “students are now conversing in English fluently and holding Group Discussions”.

“A visit to any classroom shows the standard of manners and etiquette that the pupils are adopting as a result of their improved communication skills,” added Warris.

British Lingua managing director Dr Birbal Jha said that he too was gratified to see the impact of the training on the personalities of the teachers and pupils. “English is a must when it comes to enhancing employability, along with the overall improvements that are evident in the state thanks to Government initiatives, the project is really pushing Bihar to the forefront of development goals in India,” he added.

The Spoken English Skills Training and Capacity Building Programme continues in Bihar during the coming year, with the goal of taking English to the villages of India. (ANI)

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