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English makes Indians global citizens

English makes Indians- Wenceslaus Anthony.jpgReaders Digest (India) Editor Mohan Sivanand recently referred to a survey, which said about 33% people in India are now able to hold a basic conversation in English.

That means, about 350 million Indians have sufficient working knowledge of the language to communicate with others.

According to Professor David Crystal, a linguist, academic, author and researcher, India now has the largest English speaking population in the world.

It is interesting that except for Anglo-Indians, whose number has dwindled fast after India obtained independence on August 15, 1947, English is not the First Language of these 350 million Indians.

Their mother tongue is one of the many languages spoken in India.

This implies that almost all these 350 million people, who can handle English are bilingual. Some speak at least three languages.

Professor Crystal predicted that with so many Indians using a dynamic variety of the language in such a fast-growing economy, “Standard English of the future could be influenced by Indian usage and pronunciation.”

India offers immense potential for New Zealand businesses and the ability of a large number of Indians to communicate in English will certainly be an advantage to both.

How will India handle its education system? I am sure that too would affect the world.

With the Indians enjoying the Right to Education, there are increasing opportunities for foreign education providers to establish their presence in India and benefit from the ever-growing demand for schools and tertiary institutions.

New Zealand Education providers aim to provide high quality education to ensure students who graduate are equipped and skilled with potential to succeed in their chosen field worldwide.

I am sure you would agree that exposure to overseas education brings about the desired determination to do better in life in the hearts and minds of young people.

New Zealand is the right choice for education, given its peaceful nature, safe environment, innovative ideas and quality lifestyle.

The Governments of two countries, academics and administrators need to have joint discussions, promote exchange programmes and undertake proper research and implement projects to promote this important sector.

There is also a need for reforms.

I hope both countries would evolve a working concept and pragmatic plan with a joint approach to promote education as a brand.

The vision of the India New Zealand Business Council is to be recognised by the Government and businesses in New Zealand and India as the leading organisation that promotes and facilitates business between the two countries.

Entrepreneurs and investors could consider investing in the education sector.

I advocate a tripartite approach involving business investors, governments and academicians to achieve the objectives.

Wenceslaus Anthony is Chairman of India New Zealand Business Council. He is also the Chairman of WA Marketing Limited, which, along with Teledata Informatics Limited, is the sponsor of the ‘Best Medium’ Category of the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2010. The above is a modified version of his speech at a reception accorded to India’s Human Resources Minister Kapil Sibal during his recent visit to Auckland.

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