Minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship, Rajiv Pratap Rudy is pitching for lessons in English to make India’s workforce employable globally even as the government, influenced by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is contemplating curriculum changes that increase focus on Sanskrit and Hindi.
Stating “employability goes up by 40% if a person can speak English”, Rudy said it was his “English education” that gave him an edge over many of his colleagues, adding he was among the ministers who were invited frequently to speak at conferences due to his ease with the language.
“I’m from Bihar and have been in politics for last 35 years, my graduation in politics has not been through English… having said that, if I in my party and in my leadership hold a small position, which is very different from others, it is not because I was very educated,” he said. It was instead his proficiency in English combined with his knowledge of Bhojpuri and Hindi that helped him gain recognition in Delhi’s political circles.
The minister was speaking at the launch of ‘transnational skill standards’ where the Indian standards in skill development were benchmarked to United Kingdom across 82 identified job roles. The High Commissioner of UK to India, Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG was also present.
Rooting for a combination of lessons in skill development and English, Rudy lamented on how the current system does not nurture skill education. “English gets you an advantage, but there is a systematic loss that has happened. We missed the bus when we decided not to integrate skills in schools education.”
Citing the examples of youth who have been taught English in addition to skills training and have consequently fared better in the job market and earn better remuneration, he said knowledge of different languages is an advantage and teaching the language should be made a component of skills training.