Every student should be taught communication skills

By AZRA MUFTI 
Success is ninety nine percent perspiration and one percent inspiration, Thomas Edison said it many decades ago. Since then we have heard this adage umpteen times but seldom do we ponder over it. Success comes to us in the most unexpected ways, but not until we have worked hard for it.
The sweetness of success is realised only when we have toiled hard than our counterparts and harnessed our potential when rest of the people were sleeping. After my five years sojourn in the Indian state of Punjab, I came back to my motherland and noticed a sea change in Kashmiri students. I realised they are now inquisitive and somewhat talented than the Punjabi students. One thing that was badly missing among Kashmiri students is proper communication skills.
Most students here, despite having talent, remain on fringes because of inferiority complex which is due to lack of communication skills. Right from our nursery, we are taught a bundle of new subjects that impart us with a great deal of education, but our basic skills remain unpolished and rough.  Every student is not a convent educated, there are scores of students who get their basic education from government schools, where unfortunately no attention is paid towards the development of language and speaking skills. The outcome of this is that most students develop sharp brains with no language acumen. There are thousands of students who still pronounce words like “gorement “instead of “government”, caalny instead of colony and “saykis” instead of six! There are hundreds of such examples that silently murder this language, but, I do not blame students wholly for this mess, authorities are equally responsible for this. The whole system is flawed! In our society English language gets as much attention as a white crayon, with authorities paying scarce attention for its upliftment. The problem is that while most private schools claim that they are “English medium” but teachers there communicate in Urdu or Kashmiri! If the medium of communication is not English in English medium schools, how come they are going to improve the oratory skills of students!
It should be made mandatory in all schools to impart communication skills; every higher education institution should have soft skills or language trainers who impart basic skills to students. Unfortunately our universities in the Valley do not have placement officers or language trainers who would prepare students to crack any placement interview. The graph of students placed in top multinational brands is not satisfactory. It would not be wrong to say that lack of awareness is the root cause of this problem. Besides, students too need to carve a niche for themselves in this competitive world. They need to learn the basic tactics of how to face a stress interview.
A student should work very hard on his vocabulary so that the rust is rubbed off from the brain. One can develop a smart brain by reading more and more. Teachers who teach management students should make it a point to teach students how to face company interviews.  Given the standard of teaching in colleges and schools, it is very difficult to get students placed in multi national companies.
—The author is Assistant professor at the school of business studies, IUST, Awantipora.
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