Home Institution

University of Oregon

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

India: Sustainable Development and Social Change

Abstract

As English continues to solidify itself as the global language, the idea that proficiency in English is the key to upward mobility is spreading. This trend is especially present throughout India, yet the quality of English education continues to vary drastically. Unequal prospects from a young age greatly impact future opportunities and while many are using English to soar up, still a large percentage of Indians are being left behind. In many cases, English is still viewed as the language of the elite, but underprivileged groups are also using it to positively change their lives. By using semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, group discussions, and observations, this study researched the different educational, economic, and social opportunities available to those with English versus non-English proficiency skills by focusing on NGOs (non-governmental organizations) who teach employability, vocational, and English language skills to youth. Study findings reveal that English is becoming an extremely valuable asset as India continues to increase its participation in globalization. It affects prospects in various ways that constantly overlap with one another and while the language is becoming more common among all groups in India, the upper class still holds an advantage by having greater access to learning the language. It is hoped that through this study, the reader will gain a better grasp of the value and effects of the English language in India, as well as understand the need for changes in the system in order to move towards equity through the use of the language.

Disciplines

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | International and Intercultural Communication

 

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