Despite learning English even more than fourteen years the student community of Bangladesh, often, cannot communicate in English language properly in different situation they come across in their everyday life. Many Bangladeshi students, often, secure ‘A+’ in English in public examinations, but unfortunately, their English knowledge does not come to their help in practical life situation. If they are asked to deliver only five minutes speech in English language on any topic or to write anything in their own English, they become completely embarrassed and their poor English knowledge gets exposed in public. Isn’t the situation regretful and shameful for the digital dreaming Bangladesh?
To master a language, four language skills namely listening, speaking, reading and writing are critically necessary. Without grasping any one of this four skills one cannot command over any language. But in Bangladeshi education system, only reading and writing are encouraged, not listening and speaking. In the curriculum designed by NCTB for several classes, there is no marks prescribed for listening and speaking test. That is why, students do not feel any interest in listening and speaking skill. Even English teachers, in most educational institutions, hardly speak in English in their English classes. Then, how will the students develop their listening and speaking skills?
In present English Syllabus of class six and seven, 20 marks have been included for listening and speaking test, which is a good news. But, regrettably, very few educational institutions give the test of listening and speaking test to students in their half yearly and yearly examination. Students are awarded this 20 marks according to teachers’ sweet will. In fact, class six and seven are crucial for improving listening and speaking skills.
Although writing and reading skills are always instigated in examination, students are often unable to write smooth English in their own language and most of them hardly read English with correct pronunciation. Students present their memorising answer in exam script. Why are the memoriaing answer? It’s because they get common writing items, which they memorise from their books, in questin papers. Therefore, what’s the use of learning the rules of writing paragraph, composition, letter etc for examination? Securing A+ is enough here.
Above scenerio is the one side of the coin. On the other side, it is observed that in primary schools, both govt. and private, except English mediums, most English teachers do not use English language in their English class. In addition, they are not well trained over the language as well as totally reluctant to inspire pupils to use the language. Consequently, students are not accustomed to listen to English from their teachers inside the classroom let alone outside. Primary stage is an important stage for developing students ‘ language capability as it’s a soft and effective stage of the children. In this stage whatever is learnt by the children has a long lasting effect in their later life. A porter can shape a lump of clay into a jar, from jar into jug, from jug into bowl only when the clay is soft enough. But when the clay gets hard enough the shaping process according to porter’s will is not possible.
Therefore, in later stage, that is in secondary, higher secondary, graduation and in post graduation level, learning English newly is very hard for the students. At these stages, when an English teacher conducts their classes in English, most student feel discomfort and don’t get inspiration enough to learn the language. As a result, the teacher who is energitic to run his / her English class in English, becomes frustrated and at one stage stop using English language in class, rather start applying grammar translation method of teaching in lieu of direct method, a very fruitful method of language learning. Moreover, there is a problem of criticism. When a teacher speak in English other teachers, sometimes, criticise them. Then losing interest is very normal. If this condition goes on, what will the teachers teach students? One soldier alone cannot win a battle. Teachers should be united.
According to a report of Bonik Barta newspaper, among some Asian countries, in case of English language efficiency, Bangladesh is in the lowest position. India scores 55. 49; China 53. 44; Vietnam 51. 57; Pakistan 51.41; Indonesia 50.06; Nepal 49 and Bangladesh 48.11.
Prof. Shirajul Islam Chowdhury, the Emiret of English Department of Dhaka University, told the Bonik Barta, ” The teachers who are engaged in teaching English in different institution in our country are not qualified in English. If the teachers are weak, what will they teach students?
If Bangladesh has to be a purely deceloped and digitalised country, the problem of English has to be dispersed. To compete with the present competitive world, to be self – reliant economically, there is no alternative to learn English language smartly. In order to be well- furnished in English, following measures could be adopted :
* Listening and speaking test should be included in public examination. * English teachers should teach English in direct method, that is they must speak in English in English, instigate pupils to speak as well.
* NCTB should design English syllabus in such a way that students become obliged to learn the language instead of memorising. That is, uncommon writing items should be set up in question paper.
* Standard training system should be arranged for English teachers. * In educational institutions, teachers ‘ unity should be monitored properly. Whether English teachers use English in their classes or not, that also should be investigated.
* To improve reading skill, there should be sufficient English books in schools and college libraries. Because to enhance vocabularies, there is no alternative to ensure a lot of reading. *From the part of government, every TV channel should air special program focusing importance of English.
Last but not the least, many people argue that ours is a Bengali speaking country and we sacrificed our life for the cause of Bangla. Why should we learn English? What’s the use of English then? In fact, learning a language is not a disgraceful thing. Bangla is our mother tongue and it’s ib our heart, in our blood. We must not show any dishonor to our language for the learning of other language. But, it should be remembered that beside mother tongue, we should learn at least English as an international and a common language. Today, English is needed everywhere, to maintain international relationship, to keep pace with the fast world and to get up to date. English is not mere a language…it’s a tool of prosperity and development.