Riding high on its rankings, Panjab University has made it mandatory for the foreign students applying for enrolment in PhD programmes to clear English language proficiency test from the academic year 2014-15. The decision comes after faculty members observing that many of foreign students find it difficult to converse with the faculty and fellow students and lacked proficiency in English.
The Panjab University has nearly 130 foreign and NRI students studying on the campus from neighbouring countries like Afganistan, Iraq, Iran, Thailand and also from African countries like Nigeria etc. But officials are hoping for increase in number of students following PU hogging limelight after recent rankings, wherein topped the list in country.
As of now 63 students are enrolled in various PhD programmes, 28 studying post graduate courses and 49 of them enrolled into various under graduate courses being run on the campus.
So far the 13 week English proficiency program, run by department of English and cultural studies was optional for the foreign students.
From this academic session, those PhD students found lacking proficiency in English and who have not studied English during their under graduate and post graduate courses will be recommended for 13 week course by the admission committees of respective departments. Students will be given provisional admissions till the time they clear the mandatory 13 week course. PU plans to make it mandatory for the foreign students applying for post graduate and under graduate courses as well in the coming years.
“Those students being admitted should have a certain level of language proficiency. The move will help in attracting good students,” dean international students,” Panjab University, Ramanjit Kaur Johal said.
The thirteen week program was started in 2008 to aid foreign students and others in improving their communication skills and proficiency in English. But has remained optional so far. While foreign students are imparted language skills free of cost, the course paid for others.
“A special curriculum is already in place under the program. Classes are run in the afternoon every day and students have to undertake a test in the beginning of the course and another one after completion of the course, which tells him or her about skills in the language. We will have deliberate upon modalities afresh for foreign PhD scholars after this move,” Deepti Gupta, one of the faculty member associated with the course said.
The course focuses on aiding students in improving listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and was designed and started during the tenure of Shelley Walia, the then dean international students and current dean faculty of languages.
“The students should be able to converse with the teachers during the course. Also to right thesis one needs to have high level of writing skills. Most students enrolling in PU were from countries non English speaking countries. The move will help in improving the quality and attract good quality researchers,” Walia said.