For the past four months, graduating batches at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) have been taking rigorous seven-minute oral tests that have nothing to do with what they have studied in class.
They are having their English language and comprehension skills evaluated.
After recruiting companies complained about poor language skills among students, the placement office at the institute has hired an agency to test the English proficiency of the 1,300 students who will be up for placements this year.
IIT-Madras and IIT-Kharagpur too have adopted similar tests for their students.
“We took a poll among the students and most of them said they would have liked to undergo the evaluation at an earlier stage in their course,” said Ravi Sinha, head of the placement office. “We give students online material to help them improve their skills.”
While about 300 of them have excellent language skills, 500 have poor language skills. The rest fall somewhere in between.
The agency also helps students figure out the best ways in which they can improve their skills.
“Some people learn better through reading, others by listening or writing. We consider aspects such as pronunciations, comprehension, confidence levels and scientifically evaluate them,” said Pawan Geddam from Value Inc, the Hyderabad-based agency that is carrying out the evaluations.