There are many subjects in our university. Among them English is a very important subject. Its importance is not less than any other subject. From our daily life to education and career, English is rooted in our lives. So today I am going to talk about English as a subject, what is taught here, its effect in the field of career development, what is the future of it and also my own thoughts.
The English founded the University of Oxford a thousand years ago. But surprisingly, they started teaching or teaching English at the university level only a hundred years ago. For centuries, English was regarded as a kind of ‘unreadable’ subject. It didn’t take long for the English department to come to our territory from Europe. Only fifty-five years later, the University of Dhaka was opened in 1921 with several departments, English being one of them.
The English department quickly became famous and popular across the country. At present, almost all public and private universities in the country, all the new and old colleges at the graduate level have English departments. Thousands of students are coming out each year with a Bachelor’s Degree in this subject.
What is taught?
From the very beginning of educational life, everyone in this country has to study English. Even though it is a foreign language, it is almost impossible to get a degree or a good job without knowing English. That is why people greatly appreciate English departments, either willingly or unwillingly. For a hundred years as a department, English has retained its importance, popularity and social status. But many of the common people have misconceptions or confusion about exactly what is taught in these departments throughout the country. Some confuse English departments of colleges and universities with different English language teaching institutions or coaching centers. While it may seem that grammar and English are taught to the students, these teachings in fact were never the central concern of the English department.
At the undergraduate level, English poetry, stories, novels, plays and linguistics are taught in English. At the postgraduate level, emphasis is placed on the theories, principles and methods of multidisciplinary theories. In the recent times, outside the English world itself, various subjects including Bangla literature, history, philosophy, anthropology, study of culture, relevant politics, media and films are part of the syllabus of this department.
In the field of career development:
From the beginning of the day till now in Bangladesh, ‘BA in English’ or ‘MA in English’ – these words are very eloquently spoken. The study of English is therefore of particular importance in the job market. Most importantly, it is difficult to calculate exactly what type of career can be created in this category.
Every year a large number of students pass from the English departments and join work as a teacher in graduate schools, colleges and universities. In the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS), a large part of the recruits come from the English departments of various higher education institutions. There are also tremendous opportunities for recruitment in banks and other public-private organizations. Magazines, radio, television, advertising agencies or marketing institutes also have a distinct appreciation for English graduates. In addition, online-based freelance work or translation is also set by educators nowadays to provide a successful career.
What is the future:
The future of this department, like the past one and a half hundred years, is very bright. In the course of time, many subjects have lost their appeal, but English has maintained its high status. Although once considered ‘unreadable’, in the near future there is no indication that the interest and importance of studying this subject will diminish. However, during the course of time, the nature of it has changed a lot. Maybe in order to survive, English department has made many changes in its content and teaching style as per the demands of the era. A lot of new, bizarre things are pouring into its syllabus. So people like Shakespeare, John Milton, Jane Austen, Lord Byron are steadily decreasing; and the importance of Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault, Edward Said and Gayatri Spivak is growing.
Up to now, English is one of the most popular subjects in higher education. It is often alleged that human qualities are gradually declining as a result of business administration, technical or engineering studies. Again, if you study humanities like art, literature, philosophy, history, many will regret that the job does not match. English is probably the only thing in Bangladesh so far which can protect both sides of the coast. But those who just want to get into this category in the hope of learning English grammar or writing, reading and speaking English; must change their decision right away. Studying in this department will surely deepen your knowledge of the foreign language which seems so essential, at the same time you will be disappointed if you find yourself in a position where you didn’t get to study the true English.
I think you can study English language and literature from any departments of science, business education or humanities. However, for those who have a keen interest in art and literature, who can simply accept the new, who prefer diversity more than the known world, the invitation of the English department is sincerest. Writing or translating literature of different countries into English is still the life blood of this section. Reading and enjoying the different genres of literature is also important. In such ways, this can become a very pleasant experience.
4th year 1st semester