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Not just tech: English labs to give campus cutting edge

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The Times of India | TNN |  Jan 20, 2017 |

HYDERABAD: Hoping to fix the weak English skills of students pursuing technical and professional courses, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has now made it mandatory for colleges to set up standalone language laboratories within their their premises.  In its approval process handbook released for the 2017-18 academic year, AICTE has listed multiple requirements under ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’. The standalone language laboratory — where colleges are expected to conduct language tutorials for students — figures in the essential list.  Experts say the move is aimed at preparing students for interviews and group discussions during campus placements. “There are a lot of students whose English language skills are weak. As a result, they are unable to crack job interviews and other competitive examinations. Pronunciation is a major issue among many engineering students,” said placement officer at Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology NLN Reddy.

It may be recalled that in 2015, nearly 500 students from Telangana and Andhra were deported from the US, resulting in a major crisis. Among the various reasons for deportation cited by the US border security officials was the students’ poor English skills. The AICTE’s move, experts say, could address this issue. As per its norms, lessons and exercises have to be recorded on a weekly basis so that students are exposed to a variety of listening and speaking drills. The language laboratory sessions will have to include word games, quizzes, extempore and debates. The labs must have 25 computers for every 1,000 students and a faculty who is proficient in English.  Apart from this, an institution-industry cell is another must-have for institutes beginning the new academic year. –  Courtesy

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