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‘Knowledge of foreign languages is essential to promote global citizenship’

At the CII Delhi conference, educationists and policy makers come together to discuss how languages can generate career opportunities for Indian students across the world

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The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), recently hosted a virtual conference on ‘Power of Languages – Creating Opportunities’. The guests at the session were Mr. Kripa Shankar Upadhyay, CEO and Secretary, Delhi Board of School Education (DBSE), Ms. Puneet Kaur, Head of Educational Services, Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan along with Ms. Fatiha Kammoussi, Attaché for Cooperation in Education Embassy of France, French Institute in India, Mr. Rakesh Kumar, Lead Facilitator, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar School of Specialised Excellence, Rohini and Mr. Aditya Berlia, Past Chair, CII Delhi State and Co-Promoter, Apeejay Stya and Svran Group.

Commencing the event, Mr. Aditya Berlia welcomed the august gathering of students, parents and teachers. He said, “Today we are here to talk about the importance of learning foreign languages and how these help acquire and understand different global perspectives. Such is important, in order to communicate, associate and cultivate knowledge of cultures, philosophies and structures.”

Voicing a similar sentiment, Mr. Kripa Shankar Upadhyay shared how the introduction of foreign languages in Delhi schools has been beneficial for students. He said, “The students are eager to learn as it widens their umbrella of development and provides exposure to different countries and cultures. At this time, it is most crucial to also work upon identifying the best teachers, study materials, and curriculum to allocate them in our schools.”

Mr. Rakesh Kumar further emphasised the role of foreign languages in promoting global citizenship. He stated, “For being able to solve people to people issues and crises, we must know each other’s language. It is this feeling, faith and confidence that is needed to have a commonality of approaches.” He further added, “In India, we have a huge population of students wanting to study abroad. For this, workable knowledge of foreign languages is necessary. When Indians settle abroad, they not only seek opportunities but also become active knowledge carriers of our country.”

Impressed by the bilingualism of Indian students, Ms. Fatiha Kammoussi remarked how they become fluent in at least two languages by an average age of 10. At the session, she also shared how the French Language is currently being spoken by a large majority of the world population, and the francophone population is expected to reach about 650 million by 2050. 

Commenting on the recent developments about The Delhi Board of School Education (DBSE) signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Institut Français en Inde (IFI) to introduce French in schools affiliated with it, she said, “The government of France provides equal opportunities and scholarships to Indian students who wish to study in the country.”

Ms. Puneet Kaur informed students about the array of courses and opportunities at Max Mueller Bhavan that can help them pursue educational and career opportunities in countries like Germany. She said, “A huge number of students have got access to internships, apprenticeships, jobs at SMEs and big companies in Germany. At Max Mueller, we educate students about cultural programmes, exchanges, shared values and beliefs to sensitise and equip them.”

A major highlight of the discussion was how the success of learning foreign languages in schools is immense. According to Mr. Kripa Shankar Upadhyay, “Students are learning fast. They are increasingly becoming aware of cultural sensitivities.” Adding to his statement, Mr. Rakesh Kumar addressed and encouraged students to increase their linguistic know-how and work upon their abilities for a better tomorrow.

The session concluded with final remarks by Mr. Aditya Berlia who spoke about the need for universal understanding and appreciation of all languages. He said, “Today, India is inter-connected with the world and every citizen must be ready to find the right opportunity and make the most of it.” 

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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