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The present study is an attempt to carry out research in the Engineering colleges of Andhra Pradesh. It tries to find out the LLS often applied by the students of Engineering colleges situated at three major districts ----Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam in Andhra Pradesh. It attempts to find out the need of the vocabulary among the Engineering students and discover their expectations regarding the acquirement of the vocabulary. It tries to test their basic understanding of vocabulary and thereby identifies a specific set of strategies necessary for the enhancement of the vocabulary based on the needs survey. It finally studies the effectiveness of strategy training course in improving students' competence in English.
According to the latest census report, the literacy rate of Andhra Pradesh is 67.77. The overall literacy rate of males is 75.56 percent and that of females is 59.74 percent. Among all the twenty three districts of A.P, Hyderabad stood on top with a literacy rate of 80% followed by Ranga Reddy (78.05%) and Mahabubnagar(56.06%)
It is noticed that the access to higher education measured in term of Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) has increased from 0.7% in 1950/51 to 1.4% during 1960-61. There is a remarkable increase of 11 percent in 2006/7.The objective of 11th Plan is to increase the GER to 15% that by 2012.
The present study tries to explore the implementation of the English curriculum within Andhra tertiary context. The focus is on both the intended and the enacted curriculum in the engineering colleges affiliated to both JNTUK and ANU.
The word Engineering is derived from the Latin word 'ingeniare' which means 'to design' or 'to create'. According to the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of English (2011). Engineering means 'the activity of applying scientific knowledge to the design, building and control of machines, roads, bridges, electrical equipmentâ€¦' It defines technology as 'scientific knowledge used in practical ways in industry, for example in designing new machines'. It is evident that there is no difference between the two. Hence, the nomenclature Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech.) and Master of Technology (M. Tech.) is used along with the traditional ones, namely, Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) and Master of Engineering (M.E.).
The names of colleges and institutions include such terms as Engineering & Technology. The present study feels the necessity of differentiating between a college and an institution. Generally, a college indicates an educational institution that imparts knowledge essential for employment. It prepares students to attempt examination to obtain a specific degree offered by the universities to which it is affiliated.
Â Thus, college means an institution of higher education set up to educate and grant degrees. It is often affiliated to a particular university. While an institution refers to an organization founded and united for a particular purpose. Institution is a generic term used for any kind of organization but college indicates an institution specific of higher education. Ultimately the study observes that the two terms namely college and institute are used synonymously in the case of Education, professional, technical or general.
The three Indian Universities, Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management and Jawaharlal Nehru University are among the world's top 200 universities in 2005 and 2006. (Times: 2006)
Apart from this, around six Indian Institutes of Technology and the Birla Institute of technology and Science, Pilani are recorded one among the top 20 science and technology schools in Asia by Asia Week. (Asia :2010)
Internationally, IIT Roorkee is ranked 401-450 in general category and 194 in Engineering and Technology in the QS World University Rankings of 2011and 65 in the QS Asian University Rankings of 2012. In India, among engineering colleges, it ranked 6 by India Today in 2012 and 6 by Outlook India in 2011.
Engineering Colleges of A.P--- An Overview
The state of Andhra Pradesh has come into existence in 1956 as a result of reorganization of states. A.P. Open School Society (APOSS) is an autonomous organization under the Government of Andhra Pradesh to provide a flexible type of non-formal education to the dropout children and to the neo-literates. The scheme functions in all the 23 districts of Andhra Pradesh with the grant provided by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. APOSS offers courses in Telugu and Urdu mediums at upper primary level and in Telugu medium at secondary level.
In Andhra Pradesh, the State Legislature conceded an advisory body termed as Andhra Pradesh Council of Higher Education (APSCHE) through an Act No.16 of 1988. It is formed mainly to counsel the Government in matters relating to Higher Education and also to oversee its development with planning and co-ordination.
Education anywhere plays a key role in the success of human life. Andhra Pradesh is regarded as the best place for world class education. Several streams like Arts, Science, Law, Engineering, Medical, Commerce, Journalism and Mass Communication are imparted in the educational institutions spread far and wide in AP. The education system is divided into different levels such as pre-primary level, primary level, elementary education, secondary education, undergraduate level and postgraduate level. Primary or elementary education is the foundation and later the students can get into secondary level, undergraduate level and post graduate level in graded ways which are regarded as the higher education levels.
Telugu is the regional and official language of Andhra Pradesh.Â Other linguistic groups speak Urdu and Hindi. The government of Andhra Pradesh has launched many projects to eradicate illiteracy. A number of institutes spread in Andhra Pradesh to provide qualitative education. It is apt to mention that Andhra Pradesh is the first state to have a computerized government administrative set up.
The present study observes that the state of Andhra Pradesh is revered with many institutes and colleges extending their hands in making it as one of the erudite oriented states. There are several institutions run by the government as well as private organization in A.P.
The design of education system in AP attracts not only the local aspirants but also foreigners. The state government provides scholarships to the worthy candidates to pursue higher studies in India and abroad. The experienced and well versed professors and lecturers of Andhra Pradesh universities are involved in the formulation of course curriculum. Education is delivered through different modes akin to regular, distance and online. The Multi National Companies visit the best educational institutes for campus recruitment through active placement cells.
Thus, Andhra Pradesh is much sought after for higher education as it is popular for offering quality education to all the students. The Central University of Hyderabad and NIT Warangal are the premier higher institutes of learning for their significant research-based efforts. The other institutes like International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Indian School of Business (ISB) and Jawaharlal Technological Universities (JNTU) are maintaining an international recognition for high standards of education.
The capital city of AP Hyderabad houses institutes like International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Indian School of Business (ISB) and Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University that attained international recognition for their high standard of education. Interestingly, it attracts several students from all over India by means of providing quality education in the field of Engineering. Accordingly, these engineering colleges offer students all the required basic infrastructural facilities such as lecture halls, conference halls, computer labs and so on.
Therefore, with lots of high aims and global upshots, Andhra Pradesh is on a persistent pursuit to be turned into a knowledge-centered state. Previously, it was prominently called the 'State of Rice Bowl' because of its main occupation was predominantly agriculture. Presently, it is viewed as the 'Super Power of Education' within a span of short period. The light of knowledge in the form of higher education is being spread to every nook and corner of the state. Consequently, the sight of a farmer's son working in the fields is replaced by sending the child to college for higher studies at any cost. Swami Vivekananda has rightly expressed,
"Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man".
This statement of his clearly reflects in none other than "The Missile man of India", Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam. He has witnessed success in the capital city of AP at Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in Hyderabad. He is the man behind the Satellite launches at Sriharikota in AP.
The government of A.P has envisioned for being the Illiteracy Free State. To achieve this, it has focused on the development of higher education that imparts skills and knowledge necessary for the employment with a strong sense on technical and professional courses catering to the needs of the global job market.
Thus, the state is all set to possess one of the fourteen central universities granted by the HRD Ministry located at Visakhapatnam, one of the metropolitan cities of AP.
English Language Teaching (ELT) in Indian Technical Institutions
The main purpose of an English course in the prescribed textbooks at all levels in India is to help the learner develop into a moderately efficient user of English. At the end of the course he/she should be able to use English accurately, fluently and appropriately for purposes of communication through the development of languages skills, the mastery of language elements, the development of communication skills, the inculcation of literary skills and the development of study skills.
Aptly, the Indian students need to acquire the skills of reading, listening, writing and speaking in English in that order, to survive within the educational framework.
The Objectives of Teaching English in Engineering Colleges of A.P:
The Engineering colleges in Andhra Pradesh use English as the medium of instruction for imparting technical skills in diverse branches of engineering. Therefore, English is recognized as a tool of communication for engineers in the industry. The engineering students need to apply it in their academic venture initially and professional performance later. Besides, English is prescribed as a subject in engineering colleges to assist the students in the transition from regional medium to English.
The study has noticed that the range of employment opportunities in the Engineering sector is magnetizing the students towards the technical institutes. As a result, there is an abundant growth in the state. One of the chief options among the youngsters is to be admitted into engineering education. Predominantly, the middle class sections of the society in A.P are eager not to be left out of the race. The perks and allowances of the software jobs are lucrative to the parents enormously. Hence, they strive hard to provide their children with quality education, a better job and finally a better lifestyle which they are deprived of. There are approximately eight hundred and forty seven engineering colleges in the state.
Therefore, A.P is the home to some of the best engineering institutes that offer under graduate as well as post graduate courses. Students can opt to join either in engineering colleges run by the government or private bodies.
A Review of Engineering Colleges in Three Districts:
The present study is concerned with the students belonging to the three major districts of Andhra Pradesh-Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam. The below table illustrates the detail list of Engineering colleges in the three districts under the present study.
District Wise Institutions
Thus, there are around hundred and nine Engineering colleges offering technical courses to the students in the districts discussed in the present study. Out of these hundred and nine technical institutes, thirty eight Engineering colleges are located in Krishna while thirty seven in Guntur and twenty one in Prakasam respectively affiliated to JNTUK. The number of engineering colleges affiliated to ANU is only five in Krishna district and eight in Guntur district.
A few other colleges are affiliated to these two universities but run by an autonomous administration. Such engineering colleges design their own curricula and examination pattern. Vignan's Foundation of Science, Technology & Research and Koneru Lakshmaiah Education Foundation are declared as Deemed Universities by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in A.P. (UGC: 2011)
The process of admission into Engineering Universities differs from one another institution. The study throws a light on the admission process adopted by the Engineering colleges in A.P. It is mainly concerned with the colleges situated in three districts namely Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam. These Engineering colleges strictly follow the common entrance test held by the government to the Intermediate pass student for admission into a desired institute.
The basic qualification of the candidates seeking admission into the professional courses is Intermediate or equivalent with not less than 60% of aggregate marks. The candidates are given short and long term coaching by the corporate colleges at length throughout the plus two stage and later prior to the EAMCET entrance examination. The entrance test is conducted to the eligible candidates chiefly in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics for admission into engineering division.
Since, the present study deals with the Engineering colleges belonging to the three districts of Andhra Pradesh it is appropriate to discuss the admission process adopted by the Universities to which the Engineering colleges of Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts are affiliated to. It is concerned with the Engineering colleges affiliated to Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Kakinada and Acharya Nagarjuna University situated in the three districts.
Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Kakinada (JNTUK)
JNTU (Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University) is originally 'The College of Engineering, Vizagapatam' at the time of its inception in 1946. It is now a sprawling campus of 110 acres, green with mango trees in the fast developing Port city of Kakinada, East coast of peninsula India. Kakinada has a rich political literacy and cultural heritage passed on through generations.
This college has turned out to be a constituent of the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University w.e.f 02-10-1972 through an act of legislature along with other sister institutions under the control of the then Director of Technical Education, Government of Andhra Pradesh. Earlier, it is affiliated to Andhra University. The college has become autonomous in the year 2003. (JNTUK: 2011)
Under a broad policy framework of providing new technological education required for the industrial growth of the country in general and more particularly for the State of Andhra Pradesh, "Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University" is established on 2nd October, 1972, by an act of State Legislature. Rightly named after the ardent lover of Science and Technology, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, the University is established with the noble objectives of strengthening and improving the standards of Technological Education and making it relevant to the rural and industrial development of the country. Technological advancements and infrastructure facilitate to determine the progress and prosperity of a nation.
This is very true in case of India, endowed with huge population growing at a rapid pace and vast natural resources largely remaining unexploited. Realizing that promotion of technical education is the imperative need of the hour, "JAWAHARLAL NEHRU TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY", the first technological university of India - is established in Andhra Pradesh with head quarters at Hyderabad. The singular objective by the way of emphasis is on training & research in engineering and applied sciences. On its formation, the Government Engineering Colleges at Anantapur, Kakinada and Hyderabad, along with the Government College of Fine Arts and Architecture at Hyderabad, became its Constituent Colleges. It has become the back bone of the oldest Engineering Colleges of South India.
Further, due to rapid expansion that has gone by in the field of Technical Education in A.P, about 165 Engineering colleges are affiliated to Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Kakinada (JNTUK). Moreover, this university campus college is entrusted the responsibility of conducting the examinations in all the 165 colleges in this zone in the capacity of a Nodal Centre. Describing it as an historic agreement, JNTUK Vice-Chancellor Allam Apparao said,
''With the help of this agreement, JNTUK desires to provide opportunities to its students a platform to know the industry requirements, opportunities to obtain require skill sets, interface with industry, participation in various seminars, projects and to obtain placements of superior opportunities in various sectors like Oil and Natural Gas, Communications, IT and Infrastructure,'' (JNTUK: 2009)
The B. Tech course comprises various fields of specialization like civil, mechanical, chemical, electronics and communication. English is extensively used for academic and professional purposes in this discipline. The prerequisites of the professions and the demand for communicative competency require a call for a study of English offered in the Engineering colleges of JNTU. English course at the undergraduate level of Engineering studies requires equipping learner with skills needed for educational as well as professional requirements.
Acharya Nagarjuna University (ANU):
Acharya Nagarjuna University is established in 1976 by Act 43 of A.P. State Legislature. Since then, it has achieved tremendous progress through quantitative expansion and qualitative improvement on various academic fronts. It offers graduate and post graduate courses in and off the campus colleges. ANU College of Engineering & Technology is established in the 2009-2010 academic year in the university campus. It is started with an aim of imparting technical values in the students, who in return change the shape of global scenario in engineering arena. Apart from the campus college, there exist five and eight engineering colleges affiliated to ANU in Krishna and Guntur districts respectively.
A candidate seeking admission into First Year of B. Tech in the engineering colleges affiliated to ANU should have passed either Intermediate examination conducted by the Board of Intermediate Education, Andhra Pradesh with Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry as optional subjects (or any equivalent examination recognized by the Acharya Nagarjuna University) or Diploma in Engineering in the relevant branch conducted by the State Board of Technical Education & Training of Andhra Pradesh (or equivalent Diploma recognized by Acharya Nagarjuna University).
The selection is based on the rank secured by the candidate at the EAMCET / ECET (FDH) examination conducted by A.P. State Council of Higher Education. The candidate shall also satisfy any other eligibility requirements stipulated by the University and / or the Government of Andhra Pradesh from time to time. The B. Tech. Course is offered in all the branches of study at one or more of the affiliated colleges.
The duration of the B. Tech Course is four academic years consisting of two semesters in each academic year where as annual pattern is followed for first year. The medium of instruction and examination is English.
Significance of Vocabulary among Engineering Students:
Language constitutes the vehicle on which both oral communication travel. It forms the cornerstone of learning. The purpose of language is to perform the tasks that speech does. In other words it is like an axe, a tool with which things are done. Words are tools with which people communicate. The more words students know, the better they can think, communicate and observe knowledge. The survival in today's global-economic society becomes hard, if their vocabulary is limited. It is an indisputable fact that the chances for success increase with the size and applications of their vocabulary.
Vast competencies in the society compel the youth to be well equipped with the basic verbal skills to obtain better placements. Verbal skills are cited as the most important decisive factor in choosing the executives. A lack of sufficient vocabulary serves only to be disqualified in the placement interviews.
Hence, students of Engineering are required to possess an ever-increasing range of vocabulary to maintain relevance with the global environment of the new millennium. Verbal skills are a vital component of these, recognized by academia and industry alike. Indeed, they are considered an outstanding part in the make-up of the new global engineer.
These skills have turned out to be stifled among the students of engineering discipline. There is ample evidence that they lack the required standards of vocabulary. Students who are adept at verbal skills have a considerable advantage over those who are not. Furthermore, this lack of these skills assists to undermine the whole profile of the professional students.
In the present scenario there is an emphasis on the need for improvement in the verbal skills of engineering students. They are required to possess vocabulary for various reasons. The range of employment for engineers and technologists is being expanded in the twenty-first century. In such situations, students of Engineering are expected to possess multiple skills to communicate perfectly in different situations. They are required to think creatively and critically and demonstrate both interpersonal and team skills. There is a desperate need to possess a set of skills demanded by recruiters. Since professional and result oriented companies always seek for the employees who can communicate influentially and efficiently.
Thus, verbal skills are cited as the most important decisive factor in choosing the executives. A lack of sufficient vocabulary results in the disqualification of candidates in the placement interviews. Since the root cause of unemployment in the job market these days is lack of a grip over language skills, especially the English language, the experts strongly suggest that students should realize the importance of writing, listening and speaking skills so that they will not lag behind in the race for placement in the big, wide commercial world.
Several engineering graduates are not chosen for employment by Multi-National companies, corporate sector and Public sector undertakings mainly due to their poor English communication. Even though they are technically skilled and mark-wise also good, they are not able to communicate in English.
In the first semester of fourth year B. Tech course, the students have to be well- equipped to face placement interviews. Social interaction activities including conversation and discussion sessions, dialogues and role-plays, simulations, skits, improvisations, and debates are stressed upon. Therefore, a learner centered needs analysis should form the base for improving vocabulary contents among the engineering students. It is observed that most of the students are able to pass aptitude test, but when they attend group discussion and interview their performance is miserably poor. Consequently, they are rejected during campus interviews.
Generally, the students that are admitted in engineering course come from different media of instructions. Hence, their first language is not English. These students face difficulty due to their lack of exposure in the use of English. They are required to use English language appropriately, as they enter an atmosphere where the demand for both written and spoken modes of communication in the subject is increasing.
Students are taught to use the technical discourse of a subject and use it in an academic style following the conventions of essays, laboratory reports and research papers. Vocabulary involves two parts one is developing attitudes and attributes and the other part involves fine-tuning it to express attitudes, idea, and thoughts in the best possible manner.
The crucial key to success is the perfect integration of ideas and attitudes with appropriate vocabulary in oral and written abilities and non-verbal areas. Attitudes and skills are integral to soft skills. Each one influences and complements the others. The important faces of a well-rounded personality are punctuality, goal management, collaborative team skills, and listening skills.
Skills education is to be imparted to the students in engineering colleges for acquiring better placements. It could be improved through GDs, debates, public speaking, mock interviews and role-playing activities. This is a very effective way of helping students to learn how to don different hats and think about the best way to get a placement.
In their school days, students learn English through grammar and English literature. For engineering students, English is a necessary tool for getting into a good job and for a cosmopolitan business and technical outlook. So, the aim of the subject English in Engineering sector is to encourage the learners to involve in learning the target language and to acquire proficiency in technical communication. Some students, out of personal interest and motivation, or even perhaps because of their family backgrounds where English may be used for interpersonal interactions, learn vocabulary through extensive reading. But many students depend on the teachers for the development of vocabulary.
The Quantum and Features of Vocabulary Needed
For those who seek to use English for specific purposes, it is indispensable to learn about 1000 to 2000 additional words related to the field of engineering. When students want to learn the meaning of a word, they refer various sources like dictionaries, Thesauruses and other word books. Though they refer those books, they may not be sure of the usage of the word until they learn to use it appropriately. Slow learners, unless they do take their own effort to learn, are caught in a difficult situation when they do exercises like reading comprehension, essay writing, etc. It is noticed that students realize the need for good use of vocabulary when they are stumped for the right word to use.
Further, to develop their basic vocabulary for effective reading, speaking and writing, it was decided to teach them three words a day during the first semester. Therefore, Students learn vocabulary directly through explicit instruction.
Objectives of Curriculum
The present study covers the necessary aspects to be involved in planning and preparing Curriculum before describing the English curriculum adopted by the two universities under the observation. The curriculum in English includes the objectives of teaching, methods of instruction, textbooks, teaching learning materials, guidance and counseling, the pupils' involvement in literary and cultural activities, their participation in seminars and conferences and evaluation. The principles to be adopted in preparing curriculum are:
Meet the changing needs of the learners
Follow certain objectives
The subject matter should be in tune with the learning environment of the students
Train the students both academically and professionally
Evaluation pattern should be outlined
As verbal communication is being given lot of importance in this cyber age, designing effective learner-centric material is mandatory. It can be done through Qualitative education to ensure smooth and effective functioning of English language.
Competency Based Curriculum:
Since verbal communication is being given utmost importance in the rapidly changing world scenario, it involves the preparation of relevant domain subject areas to be imparted. This is possible by researching and thereby designing effective learner-centric material. Qualitative education can be redefined to ensure smooth and effective functioning of English language.
The majority of the prospective employers are interested in hiring employees with good communication skills, so the English classroom methodology should be tailored to develop the verbal competency of the students. English language is the link language of the world. Its sanctity should be protected. It can be done only when the English curriculum is so designed to protect the pristine glory of the language. The activities are to be contextualized and should present language in natural situations.
Students should be sensitized to the subtlety of words. The cognitive and affective abilities of the learners ought to be activated by stimulating them to make more use of their imagination. Innovative, need-based exercises, vocabulary and correspondence should be a part of English curriculum.
Analysis of the objectives of English Curriculum, JNTUK
The proficiency in English language is closely linked to 'good communication skills'. It has become mandatory when employability is at stake for want of communication skills on the part of the students in the present scenario. Since skills and personal attributes are revealed through communication, the responsibility of grooming students in life skills is also emphasized as part of language teaching and learning by JNTUK.
The essential core key skills given emphasis in the English curriculum are:
The personal attributes to be groomed are: Adaptability, Commitment, Enthusiasm, Stress Management, Integrity, Sense of Humour, Self-Motivation, Reliability, Self-esteem and Personal Presentation.