Fri. Jun 14th, 2024
Abdur Rehman Khattak

The Power of English Language in Pakistan’s Job Market

English is a global language and is widely recognized as a means of international communication. In a developing country like Pakistan, English holds a significant importance due to its status as a language of education, business, and diplomacy. English is used as the primary medium of instruction in higher education institutions in Pakistan, and it is also used as a means of communication in multinational corporations and international organizations.

In addition, the knowledge of English language is essential for Pakistanis to access the vast amount of information available on the internet, which is predominantly in English. This is particularly important for the country’s youth, who can benefit greatly from online educational resources to acquire new skills and knowledge. English proficiency is crucial for individuals seeking job opportunities in the global market. As many companies have operations in multiple countries, employees with a strong command of English have a competitive advantage in the job market.

Furthermore, the ability to communicate effectively in English is important for Pakistani professionals who are involved in diplomatic and international relations. English is the language of international diplomacy, and proficiency in English can lead to more effective communication and negotiation with other countries and international organizations.

English language proficiency is also a crucial factor in the digital job market in Pakistan. As Pakistan moves towards becoming a digital economy, the ability to communicate effectively in English has become more critical than ever before. With the rise of digitalization and remote work, many employers now require their employees to be proficient in English to communicate effectively with international clients and colleagues. English proficiency also plays a significant role in online freelancing, which is a rapidly growing industry in Pakistan.

However, the unequal access to high-quality education between the rich and the poor contributes to the disparity in opportunities for economic advancement. The affluent individuals often have the financial means to afford better education, including private schools, tutors, and specialized programs. These resources provide them with a solid foundation in various subjects, including English language skills, which are crucial for accessing job opportunities in today’s digital world.

The poor, especially those living in rural areas and low-income families, face several barriers to acquiring quality education. Limited financial resources make it challenging for them to afford private schooling or additional educational support. Public schools in these areas lack the necessary infrastructure and educational materials which hampers the development of English language proficiency.

As a result, the English language skills gap among the workforce in Pakistan exacerbates the disparity in job opportunities. Proficiency in English is highly sought after in the digital job market, as many remote work opportunities, freelance platforms, and online businesses operate primarily in English. Without adequate English language skills, individuals from low-income backgrounds are at a significant disadvantage in accessing these opportunities.

To address this issue, the public sector need to take steps to improve English language teaching in schools and provide access to affordable English language courses for the general population. Additionally, online resources and language learning apps can be utilized to provide wider access to language learning opportunities.

Class Discrimination: Role of English Language Teaching

Class discrimination is a prevalent issue in many societies, and Pakistan is no exception. One of the ways in which class discrimination manifests itself in Pakistan is through the English language. English is seen as a marker of social status, with fluency in the language associated with the upper and middle classes. This has led to a situation where those who do not have access to quality English language education are at a disadvantage in terms of social and economic opportunities.

Reviews on the relationship between class discrimination and English language in Pakistan are mixed. Some argue that the focus on English language education perpetuates inequality in society, as it reinforces the idea that those who can afford private education and English language tutors are more deserving of success than those who cannot. Others argue that English language proficiency is necessary for success in many fields, particularly in the international job market, and that improving English language education can provide opportunities for upward mobility.

There is enough evidence to suggest that the current state of English language education in Pakistan is not meeting the needs of all students. This has resulted in a situation where students from low-income backgrounds are not given the same opportunities to succeed as their wealthier peers.

To address the issue of class discrimination and English language in Pakistan, it is necessary to address the root causes of inequality in education. This includes improving the quality of English language education in public schools, providing frequent teacher training programs that focus on modern teaching techniques, and making English language education more affordable and accessible to all students. Only then can English language proficiency be seen as a tool for social and economic mobility, rather than a marker of social status.

Research Insights: Recommendations for Ensuring Quality of English Language Teaching

Quality of English Language Teaching in Pakistan has been a matter of concern for many years. The quality of education in this field is not up to the mark due to a lack of trained and qualified teachers. Despite the growing importance of English in Pakistan, the curriculum, teaching materials, and training programs need to be improved. The majority of the students in Pakistan come from low-income families, and the high fees charged by private English language institutes make it difficult for them to receive quality education. Therefore, the government needs to take action to improve ELT standards in public schools, provide regular teacher trainings, and make English language education affordable for all.

Several research articles indicate that the quality of English language teaching in Pakistan needs significant improvement. The research points to the lack of qualified and trained teachers, inadequate teaching materials, and outdated teaching methods as major issues in ELT. Additionally, the research highlights the importance of improving ELT in public schools, as the majority of students come from low-income families and cannot afford private language institutes. Recommendations from the research include providing more funding for ELT in public schools, developing a standardized curriculum that focuses on developing skills, and organizing regular training programs. Teachers should be given proper training in modern teaching techniques, such as communicative language teaching, which can help students improve their language skills more effectively. Access to high-quality English language learning resources, such as textbooks, audio-visual materials, and online resources, should be made available to all students regardless of their socio-economic background. Public-private partnerships can be established to provide scholarships and financial aid to deserving students to receive quality ELT education.

Developing Skills: Emphasizing Communication and Practice

The development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills is crucial for effective communication in English. However, most students in Pakistan struggle with these skills due to a lack of quality education and exposure to the language. Students are often taught to memorize grammar rules and vocabulary without adequate practice and use of the language. This results in poor communication skills in English, limiting their opportunities for academic and professional growth.

Research shows that students in Pakistan struggle with developing their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills due to a lack of quality education and exposure to the language. It is recommended that teachers should focus on developing these skills through communicative language teaching methods, which involve authentic interaction and meaningful communication in English. Additionally, the research suggests that students should be given ample opportunities to practice their language skills through group work, presentations, debates, and other interactive activities. The use of technology, such as online resources and language learning software, can also be effective in improving language skills.

Comprehensive Language Assessment: Moving Beyond Traditional Testing

Language assessment is an essential aspect of language learning and teaching, as it helps identify students’ strengths and weaknesses in language skills. However, in Pakistan, traditional forms of assessment, such as grammar and vocabulary tests, are overemphasized. This approach does not accurately reflect students’ language abilities and limits their progress in language learning.

Assessment should be more comprehensive, including multiple forms of assessment, such as speaking and writing assessments, and focus on assessing students’ language skills in real-world contexts. Teachers should be trained in modern assessment techniques, such as portfolio assessment, self-assessment, and peer-assessment. Standardized language proficiency tests, such as the TOEFL and IELTS, should be used as a benchmark for language proficiency to ensure that students are meeting the international standards of language proficiency.

Integrating Technology: Enhancing Language Teaching and Learning

Technology has revolutionized language teaching, providing access to a wealth of resources and making language learning more interactive and engaging. However, in Pakistan, technology is not widely used in language teaching, particularly in public schools, limiting students’ exposure to modern teaching techniques.

The government should invest in technology infrastructure in public schools, including computers, audio-visual equipment, and internet connectivity. Teachers should be trained in the use of technology in language teaching, such as using multimedia resources, language learning software, and online learning platforms.

By implementing these recommendations and addressing the challenges faced in English language teaching, Pakistan can unlock opportunities for all citizens, bridging the language gap and leading to social and economic advancement. The significance of English language proficiency in the job market, combined with a focus on inclusivity and quality education, will empower individuals, promote social mobility, and contribute to the overall development of the nation.

By Abdur Rehman Khattak

The author is training consultant at British Council Pakistan.

One thought on “Unlocking Opportunities for the Marginalized: The Importance of Improving English Language Teaching in Public Schools”
  1. Assalamu Alaikum dear
    All of previous suggestions are good.
    In Pakistan lack of lack of English communication. In public schools government should be trained teachers. I am also lack of English communication.
    Kindly suggested me any software for English communication skills.

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