Higher Technical Education: Distinctiveness of Humanities, Indian English, and ESP


I am grateful to the organizing committee for considering me and alluring me to deliver a visitor lecture on the specialty of Humanities and social sciences in higher technical training. I sense rather uneasy and relatively septic, as I stand right here without pretensions of a high-forehead professor or expert whose discourse goes overhead. I communicate to you as a practicing trainer of English language competencies, particularly for technological know-how and era, and Indian English writing, specifically poetry, with interest in what issues us within the Humanities division, which, unluckily, enjoys little educational respect inside the overall scheme of factors in almost every technical institution.

Maybe, a convention like this augurs properly for friends within the Humanities & Social Sciences branch, as they are looking to discover interdisciplinarity, which certainly expands the scope of coaching and research. But I ought to provide a perspective to my numerous comments that turn up from my reflections at the nice of highbrow hobby in most technical establishments vis-a-vis the negligible aid for scholarship in the Humanities, perhaps with the notion that the arts are not ‘real subjects’ or that those haven’t any about studied of technical subjects, or these convey no demonstrable financial benefit.

Higher Technical

The discipline has declined extra perceptibly with, to cite Nannerl O. Keohane, “the creation of increasingly more specialized disciplines and rewards for college participants for advancing knowledge in the one’s areas.” We have a marginalized reputation in technical establishments, although we might also be gambling an essential position as instructors of languages and letters. I do not want to live on them right here. But, we should be aware of the ground truth.


Yes, a study in humanities isn’t constantly a count number of communicating ‘new findings’ or providing a ‘new concept.’ It is a substitute ‘cultivating information’ or wondering significantly approximately a few profound questions of human lifestyles; it is frequently the expression of the deepened expertise, which a few individuals have received, via analyzing, discussion and reflection, on a topic which has been ‘known’ for a long term. To me, practices in arts and arts increase awareness, refine susceptibilities in various guidelines, create deeper recognition, and enable us to respond significantly and independently to the ‘courageous new international’ we stay in. Arts and arts by myself can assist us in discovering what it way to be human and preserve “the heart and soul of our civilization.” Perhaps, it’s the usefulness of humanities that’s acknowledged by inviting me to talk to a outstanding audience like this.

I intend to divide my brief into parts: I would replicate on technical institutions as faculties of better studying; after which, I could say something about the business of English language teaching, that is my top professional issue. Yet, a lot will continue to be unsaid, for I am privy to the controversies I may raise.

I strongly sense most university-level technical institutions in India, like the overall ones, have failed in promoting or upholding healthy highbrow attitudes and values. Educational way of life and tradition, predicted of a university, simply as it’s painful for me to look at, the subculture has been truely dismal inside the case of studies in arts and humanities in the final 4 decades. The dullness and sameness have marginalized each creative and important performance, or the standards surpassed down to us have emerged as out of date, or we’ve fallen into an abyss of unbecoming elitism, or we have ended up used to a cornucopia of pleasures formerly denied us: I won’t remark. But a possibility, along with this, is always no longer to offer any authoritative judgments however to reflect on, or to offer insights into, troubles that challenge intellectuals at the pinnacle of university coaching hierarchy. Should I say ‘non-university? For I fear the college’s maximum does not need to transport beyond the parochial confines of narrow exclusivity. It’s the age of specialization, they say, and discourage diversity, tolerance, and inclusivity: they do no longer try for intellectual mobility and exchange of mindset; we, as seniors, too, have now not attempted to attain out, or explore!

As a college, we aren’t oriented to transforming our social order, nor are we obligated to behave as a moral deterrent in inhibiting the increase of selfish motivation. We consider schooling in phrases of laboratory or industrial practices in mineral and mining sectors, energy, electronics, engineering, PC utility, surroundings, management, law, fitness sciences, existence sciences, and all that, but hardly take care of ‘generating’ fully able and spiritually mature people. We do not take note of the increase of personal creativity and intuitive information of personal motive. We do now not bother to teach with, to quote Rabindranath Tagore, the “understanding of spiritual that means of life,” which is also the moral and ethical that means. We were, sadly, bogged down in schemes that inculcate a addiction of the thoughts which indulges in seeking the handiest better opportunities to live to tell the tale or better pay packages.

I’m afraid for too long, we’ve practiced the “the way to” of existence and disregarded the “why.” I consider it’s far comparatively easy to discover ways to accomplish positive cloth tasks, but lots harder to analyze “what for.” If our instructional device has failed through the years, it is because we have by no means come right into a operating understanding of our humanity. We have gained a notable amount of technical know-how, perhaps greater than enough to resolve any problems humanity faces. However, we’ve by no means tried to reflect on the way to apply it constructively and efficiently for the coolest of all, with a feel of human dignity.

Some people rightly worry about the general lack of mutual admiration for the rights and emotions of others, the tendency to be suspicious of the unknown, the tendency to take liberty with the sanctity of the individual and complain about the overall lack of individual and integrity, no matter higher training. I see our failure in communicating with the religious perception marked with the aid of stability between individual dreams and social demands; I see our failure in growing the notice of the world of values and precept of the religious oneness underlying the exquisite range found within the global. I see our failure within humanity being torn apart by intolerance and fundamentalism, the suicidal urge for self-destruction. I see our failure in the rising ethnic, linguistic and spiritual tensions that now belie the sixties’ clinical, technological and enlightened euphoria.

We seem to have misplaced a experience of duty towards growing an awesome, tolerant, forward-searching society. Thanks to the position of money in democratic strategies and institutionalization of corruption in any respect stage, human beings have lost religion in politicians, bureaucrats, and authorities. The invasion of governance using the criminal-flesh presser-bureaucrat Nexus has executed the united states of America’s finest harm than the shift of strength following the wave of globalization, multinational capitalism, corporate financial system, politics of struggle on terror, environmental issues, human rights, and all that. There is a reshaping of self, values, and norms with the dominance of the Western discourse in crucial reasoning and mirrored image via perils and delights of boom and trade; via survival capabilities vis-à-vis emigration, sex, parenthood, and age; through re-traveling past and present with vested cognizance; thru political orthodoxy in the name of democracy, spiritual fanaticism, casteist dominance, and repression of the liberals and the easy; and through the new procedures of fossilization of the pre-colonial/colonial/publish-colonial that renders lots of us within the career inappropriate. I surprise if we are not extraordinarily dislocated in our small global.

Let me now not digress any further. Ladies and Gentlemen, every college is a better training school; however, how high is high? If we are only inquisitive about technical education for the sake of developing professional capability or talent in some area of life, then we speak approximately a vocational college or polytechnic, and no longer a true university. Unfortunately, maximum universities (and technical institutions) had been vying with every difference from becoming expert faculties, not devoted to teaching higher morality, philosophy, popular order, or everyday life. They are not generating morally and ethically aware properly residents. I am afraid all one could count on from the prevailing priorities within the so-referred to as higher education is survival, the pursuit of money, and strength.

When technology is transformed into technology, it becomes a shape of strength. And, as records could testify, power is the energy for right and evil. The technological subculture we stay in pervades and shapes our lives. The laptop and net tradition, digital gadgets, microwave, fridge, cell telephones, antibiotics, contraceptives, and numerous such devices had been greater than new manner. Our feel of vulnerability has been converting rapidly. The new consumerist way of life has taken away what turned meaningful and wealthy reviews of life in advance.

We inside the Humanities & Social Sciences department need to debate the multifaceted fact that modern technology gives no longer only its gadgets and infrastructure, which might be its fabric manifestation but also capabilities and enterprise, attitudes and subculture, possibly constructively and contextually. Thinking thru technology has to make it possible for us to expand and contribute to humanity’s philosophy of science and engineering simply as one-of-a-kind visions can be possible to discuss via social philosophy of generation. Researchers within the West have already been talking approximately era as the liberator, generation as chance, and era as a tool of electricity. Our lives and ideas have therefore modified and could keep trading. In truth, every area has been converting these days unexpectedly. The field (HSS) desires to incorporate theirs have a look at, especially as media consisting of internet and social networking have already modified and redefined human courting and identities anywhere and at all tiers.

Then, there’s the emergence of what has been known as ‘information society. The increase or creation of know-how society that we had been speakme about given that the beginning of this century presupposes our capability for concept era. But if know-how isn’t made freely available to all trying to find it, how can one promote humanity or make its electricity for a liberal democratic society. Moreover, as clinical and technical know-how spreads or will become greater powerful, it might become more difficult for the clinical community to count on moral responsibility for using and abusing scientific know-how. To mitigate this venture, one desires an education no longer in technological know-how but humanities. When scientists say they want to stay up to their social responsibilities, they appear to mean that they want more energy than they have got; the method they want to run matters is to take charge. They ought to not emerge as ‘doing politics in the name of enhancing the arena or society. Let them be inquisitive about themselves, in dealing with the challenge of their very own self-development, and mastering how to reflect onconsideration on their very own responsibilities in a greater severe and reflective way, their personal ethical schooling.

As a college within the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences is one of the main technical universities in the united states, I suppose the clinical and engineering community has to face up to its personal self-education and social training. Do our budding engineers and scientists need to discover answers to such fundamental questions as a great society? How can we go about reaching it? How will we-what we-research from records? What can we analyze from political philosophers of the past? Or, why do scientists think and talk the manner they do? They can not forget this type of instructional inquiry in technical education because there is increasingly more to understand as the fields proliferate. This means the branch of Humanities and Social Sciences ought to equip them with the basics that facilitate them to exhibit information in and across the foremost disciplines: scientific know-how, technical information, mathematical know-how, ancient information, creative/humanistic understanding, pass-cultural knowledge, and understanding of moral and political philosophy, and philosophy of science, etc. There is a want for offering new strange standards and examples to sell such expertise to permit them later to take significant choices vis-à-vis the complexity of the sector technology and technology has added about.

With the existing attention, be given it or not, we, in instructional institutions, have perpetuated dwelling with the world in upheaval. In a few instances, we have even proven a preference for it. But, with a higher order of recognition that tactics intuitive degrees of information (something arts, subculture, and humanistic studies basically are seeking to increase), we should be higher able to observe a problem from many one-of-a-kind dimensions and rationalize how we ought to stay in the future “as entire residents who can think for themselves, criticize traditions, and understand the importance of any other individual’s sufferings and achievements,” to cite Martha Nusbaum from her ebook Not for Profit.


A technical university desires to provide for schooling, which additionally elevates the focus and extends the strength of the soul; that is, we want to shift a part of the current instructional priorities from the mind to the coronary heart and from clinical and technical questioning to soul cognition. The quit and purpose of a college, be it technical or preferred, is the perfection of a guy, striving to adapt the cognizance in track with the universe.

The education we ‘sell’ needs to be re-tuned in the direction of creativity, innovation, and recognize for fundamental freedom; our guidelines and curriculums have to help in strengthening the culture and values of a worldwide society that is characterized through multiculturalism, intercultural interactions, mutual appreciate, tolerance, dignity and admire for values, and awareness of ourselves as one human race, human rights and worldwide duty for exchange in attitudes. We have to, at every stage, strive for stability among the conventional attitudes and the need for a modern multi-cultural society.

I agree that most of the new technical institutions can preserve their uniqueness by significantly starting to the diversity of our instances, through sharing freely with students representing the range of our large society, lifestyle, and future needs. The enclave approach, which seeks to close out or, as a minimum, severely restrict the various socio-cultural needs and expertise, won’t assist anymore to hold the institution’s area of expertise.

I also worry about the device’s unwillingness to nurture the ethos and sensibility that sustains a university spirit even in keeping with the present-day govt. Regulations, a group of better mastering, is predicted to run as a commercial enterprise which in days to return will regulate, perhaps irreversibly, our attitudes to teaching and studies, our notions of understanding, our administrative practices, and our courting with the country and society. We want to move from the issues of the instantaneous present to the future and visualize a special typology of cultural, linguistic, and educational troubles in opposition to the backdrop of a completely fluctuating socio-political climate and pressures of every type.

As a part of the language and literature coaching fraternity for over 38 years and operating in a specialized college, I understand how huge Humanities teaching is to hone the mind, essential wondering, and conversation talents. I am tempted to cite Erwin Griswold (of the Harvard Law School): “You visit a tremendous school now not so much for information as for humanities or behavior; for the artwork of expression, for the art of entering quickly into every other person’s mind, for the artwork of assuming at a second’s notice a brand new highbrow role, for the addiction of submitting to censure and refutation, for the art of indicating assent or dissent in graduated phrases, for the dependancy of regarding minute points of accuracy, for the artwork of operating out what is viable in a given time; for flavor, for discrimination, for mental courage, and intellectual soberness.”

Now, I was hoping you could permit me to speak about the enterprise of English Language Teaching. I say ‘enterprise’ because it has advanced into a multi-million bucks industrial company outdoor the local bases. We, too, have a possibility to capitalize on it in our personal manner, if we can. We can reach out to people in over 70 international locations wherein English is one of the principal languages.

The global diffusion of the language has now taken an exciting flip: the ratio between the local speakers of English (in countries like the U.K., America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) and the non-native audio system (in countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Ghana, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Philippines and so forth wherein English is used along with the mother tongue) is sort of forty: 60, and it has accelerated fast to other countries (like China, Japan, Egypt, Indonesia, Korea, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Taiwan, the Gulf Countries, and the international locations of the erstwhile Eastern Bloc). It is without a doubt a native language in South Africa, Jamaica, and West Indies. Its acculturation, its global functional range, and the various sorts of literary creativity it’s far accommodating are traditionally unprecedented.

As Braj B. Kachru notes, the situation these days is such that the local speakers have a trifling position inside the global spread and teaching of English; they seem to have misplaced the extraordinary prerogative to control its norms of use or standardization; in fact, if current records are any indication, they have got end up a minority.

This sociolinguistic reality and its implications have no longer but been absolutely identified by maximum linguists, ELT practitioners, ESPists, administrators, language coverage planners, and college and university teachers in India. We need new paradigms and perspectives for linguistic and pedagogical research and for expertise the linguistic creativity, which includes clinical and technical writing, in multilingual situations across cultures.

You will recognize the English we all speak isn’t always like the English, the local audio system of the language talk. We don’t want to. The yardsticks of the British or American native speakers, their requirements as contemplated in GRE, TOEFL or IELTS and so forth, or their type of tongue-twisting, are really destructive to the interests of non-local speakers. We must increase our personal requirements instead of coaching to sound like Londoners or North Americans. Pronunciation has to be understandable and no longer detract from the information of a message. But for this, nobody wishes to talk the so-referred to as standardized English that makes inter-and intranational communication hard. David Crystal too appreciates this reality and favors the nearby taste of English in India and someplace else.

Our Indianness is truly contemplated in the pronunciation of positive vowels and consonants, inside the stressing of words, within the rhythm and pauses, within the vocabulary and lexical acculturation, discourse patterning, code-mixing, usages, grammatical deviations, and so on. The prolonged linguistic and cultural touch of English in various states of the Indian union has given it a unique person who deserves extreme educational exploration. It has received a wide practical variety and intensity. It is preposterous to assume that the language would no longer be ‘shaped’ or ‘moulded’moldede with the nearby wishes or remain unaffected by using the effects of nearby languages and literature, cultures, and customers. It is, in truth, the result of such deep-rooted nearby functions that we’ve now an institutionalized version of English for intranational uses. The manner India’s multilingualism and ethnic pluralism have introduced to the complexity of Indian English, aside from ‘blending’ phrases, phrases, clauses, and idioms from the Indian Language into English, and in ‘switching from one language to another, possibly to explicit the speaker’s ‘identification’ or linguistic ‘belonging,’ the role of ‘native speaker the British or American– as turn out to be peripheral, as Kachru rightly asserts, except they are familiar with the neighborhood cultures and cultural presuppositions.

I am now not very an awful lot worried about the literary perspective of Indian English right here. However, I had been actively associated with Indian English literary practices for over thirty-five years. I am professionally inquisitive about the language use and usage of Indian writers, scholars, and researchers of technological know-how and era. The localized knowledgeable range they have got evolved to speak indigenous improvements. You can recognize this if you have noticed the development of nearby registers for agriculture, the legal system, the amusement industry, the environment, and so on. The courses of Indian technology practitioners and generation have sure discourse functions that are precise to Indian English but not tested.

I suspect Indian English isn’t always but diagnosed as an essential location of studies for ‘English for particular purposes’ (ESP) that we train. [It is also unfortunate that though ESP as an approach is now firmly established, it still has fewer supporters in India, possibly because nobody wants any changes in the conventional teaching-learning practices?] Having been on the leading edge of ESP motion within us for over twenty-five years, I am aware of the localized linguistic improvements within the huge output of Indian researchers, several of which have the potential for serving efficiently and efficaciously as pedagogical texts or coaching substances. But it’s miles unlucky the English coaching academia is gradually recognizing the pragmatic contexts–the importance of intranational uses of English and according to nearby needs – and preserve to stick to the outside norms of English. It’s more regrettable that the conceptual and implemented studies on ESP in the West have avoided addressing troubles that are crucial for understanding the usage of English throughout cultures.

The manner ESP has turned global, instructors and researchers in Applied Languages in our u. S . Need to explore: what accommodation a native speaker of English may need to make for participation in conversation with folks who use a nearby (or non-local) type of English; what determines communicative performances or pragmatic fulfillment of English in its global uses; what insights we’ve received via research on intelligibility and comprehensibility concerning worldwide and intranational makes use of English; and what attitudinal and linguistic modifications are acceptable for effective coaching of ESP based totally on a non-native English, like Indian English. These are some primary questions, now not convenient to Western ESP fanatics.

I even have noticed inside the Western ESP is widespread, and technology and era, in particular, a strong bias closer to ethnocentricism in technique and neglect of intranational motivation for the makes use of English. It isn’t always feasible to exercise ESP efficiently unless we admire John Swales’s name, “neighborhood information,” and “localized pragmatic desires.” After all, we use the language as a tool, and we cannot forget about the localized improvements which have “code-related” and “context-associated” dimensions. We have to view non-local innovations in ESP as wonderful and bear in mind them as a part of the pragmatic needs of the customers. It is the attitudinal exchange that I plead for!

The teaching ESP in a college inside the 2d language situation like ours is basically a “collaborative sense-making” with elegance. When I say this, I am pointing to the interactive nature of formal guidance, which is essentially Indian in tone, tenor, and fashion in phrases of real language use. I also regard the need for information on the dichotomy among the rhetoric of EST coaching and the practice enacted in the study room from the point of view of adult rookies and language abilities development and competence inside the Indian social putting. We need to evolve a dynamic model of ‘communicative teaching’ of ESP which seeks to increase (i)linguistic competence (Accuracy), (ii)pragmatic competence (Fluency), and (iii) sociolinguistic competence (Appropriacy), without ignoring interrelated components of nearby exercise, studies, and concept and at the identical time emphasizes language cognizance, which is a massive idea in ELT, in that it covers implicit, explicit, and interactive expertise approximately language and provides essential attention of language and literature practices which are fashioned using, and form, sociocultural relationships, expert courting, and courting of energy. The approach also can facilitate move-cultural comparisons and contrasts and sell genre-based research (i.E. How language works to intend, how unique strategies may be used, how which means is built), simple to ESP, in that it certainly develops character’s overall performance competence.

Friends, I even have hopped from one factor to some other, possibly jumbled up, in my zeal to attract your interest to several factors of English, Indian English, and ESP that has wider and deeper implications. They contact attitudinal chords of English language customers, teachers, and administrators too. These days, teaching English, both language and literature, is not handiest academically hard but also opens new fresh avenues for implemented studies. This is because of English’s spread and changing status, which has grown from a native, 2nd, and foreign language to emerge as a worldwide language of commerce science and technology, spoken among extra non-natives than natives inside the procedure in their professional interests or ordinary lives. I have also placed sure records of science and era education inside the context of Humanities earlier than you, raised issues, expressed my view, and now it’s far for the career to accept, reject or discover their implications. Thank you.

  • Copyright:
  • Professor R.K.Singh
  • Head, Dept of Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Indian School of Mines
  • Dhanbad 826004 India