The importance of foreign language courses for India

When we learn a language we just don’t get the ability to read another set of symbols or recognize another set of meaningful sounds, we also have access to a whole new world. A language is a passport to the world of accumulated knowledge of a community; a key to understanding a different society; a lens to visualize the culture and history of a group of people.

From time immemorial, the learning of foreign languages ​​has played an important role in strengthening the commerce, knowledge and military and diplomatic strength of nations. Even the European colonial powers placed great importance on learning foreign languages ​​to strengthen their hold over the countries and peoples they colonized.

In today’s world, the foreign language as a communication tool is a force multiplier in the fields of commerce, diplomacy, defense, etc. India must therefore pay serious attention to the establishment of foreign language universities throughout the country to increase the prospects of strengthening its interests. at the World level.

India has the potential to become the world’s leading supplier of labor. Traditionally, Indians are known to place great importance on education and this has enabled Indians to be successful globally. In the United States, for a long time, American Indians were the most prosperous and wealthy of all ethnicities. But it is a small percentage of the Indian population in the world. India’s population, with a considerably high percentage of very young people, is an important asset to the country. In addition to meeting our own demand for skilled labor in various industries, we may also aim to be the global hub for skilled labor. Foreign language skills can catalyze this process to a considerably higher degree.

Indians have a natural tendency to be multilingual due to the many languages ​​spoken throughout the country. Besides the 22 officially recognized languages, there are 122 other major languages, but the total number of mother tongues (languages ​​and variants) spoken in India is over 19,500. Most Indians have been exposed to more than one language since the childhood. Most Indians can converse in more than one language and learning languages ​​is not a very unusual task for them. Therefore, when it comes to learning foreign languages, Indians certainly have an advantage over many other nationalities. Research shows that after learning a language (other than the first language), learning more languages ​​becomes much easier.

Many countries around the world today suffer from a demographic deficit and this has naturally resulted in a shortage of manpower. Japan, for example, is taking many steps to attract skilled labor from other countries. Canada, Sweden, Germany, Norway, etc. are other countries in search of a skilled global workforce for sectors such as IT, management, hospitality and agriculture. If Indians are fluent in foreign languages, they will become an even more attractive segment.

Various Indian languages ​​have similarities with other languages ​​across the world. This makes it easier for some Indian speakers to learn some foreign languages. We can also capitalize on this aspect to produce foreign language experts in our country.

Fluency in foreign languages ​​can also help enormously in tourism, hospitality in India.

There are several institutions in India that offer various foreign language courses. But these are mostly available in cities. The government must aggressively take on the mission of establishing foreign language universities across the country that will prepare a formidable Indian workforce with a good knowledge of global languages.

Besides skills development and improving employability, foreign language expertise is important for strengthening pro-Indian narratives as well as countering anti-Indian narratives. Chinese radio stations continuously broadcast aggressive propaganda through powerful radio signals in strategic Indian territories. India, in recent times, has also stepped up such programming in Mandarin, but the effort is negligible compared to that of its more hostile neighbor. The Indian government should also encourage private actors to disseminate foreign language content in order to strengthen Indian narrative on various issues. The emphasis on foreign language learning must be a major element of this strategy.

Besides increasing global job prospects and national narratives, foreign language training can boost foreign trade. This will help Indian companies to enter overseas markets more easily. Learning foreign languages ​​(or any language) also has other advantages. Research shows that multilingualism improves memory and brain power. It also improves multitasking abilities and decision making and keeps the mind sharper for a longer period of time.

We need undergraduate and masters courses in foreign languages, as well as diploma and certificate courses. The importance of foreign language universities becomes more important because of this. While short courses may be relevant for professionals who need foreign languages ​​just to communicate in another environment, the in-depth study of a language and its literature is paramount if India is serious about exerting influence. global.

(Vijayasai Reddy is parliamentary party leader and national secretary general of the YSRCP.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV assumes no responsibility in this regard.

Sylvester L. Goldfarb

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