Sunday, May 13, 2007

adjusting the curriculum towards conversational English

The reason why India is the top UK market call center provider is because schools there have adjusted their curriculum towards conversational English. The Philippines is 2nd only to India when it comes to catering to the North American market's call center needs. Why? Because our English curricula in the Philippines are not adjusted to the demands of the market. Take the following facts.

In 2004, there were 40,000 seats available in call centers for graduates who could speak good English. Eighty thousand seats were available in 2005 and the Department of Trade and Industry projects a doubling of the figures every year for the next five years.

No other industry in the Philippines is generating and providing as many job openings as the call center industry with salaries that are highly competitive.

But are schools delivering products that fit the demands of the market which is the call center industry?

It is sad to hear that out of 2,000 applicants, they will be lucky to get 5 or 7 real qualified graduates to work as call center agents who will be dealing with English-speaking clients 24 hours a day.

The solution that was proposed by a representative of Bigfoot Global Solutions Inc. is skills practice or conditioning students into practising the kind of work expected by the market.

One of the ways proposed is by giving assessment through conversational English, using oral examination as the testing format for prelims, midterms, or finals. Other activities such as panel quizzes, debate, oration, panel discussion may also be used by the teacher. The point is, to make the students speak and use the target language as often as every meeting.

This may raise the eyebrows of many traditionalists, but hey, we've got to get real. Our students will not be asked to write down their answers in a job interview. No, they will be using spoken English when they will be looking for work and they better start polishing this skill now.
It is only by doing this that schools can truly claim to be relevant to the times.

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