A Journal of Teaching English Language and Literature

ISSN Print : 2229-6557, Online: 2394-9244

Do MA (ELT) Programmes in Indian Universities Prepare Teachers for Tertiary Level Teaching?

Ravindra B. Tasildar

Introduction

The demand for English language teachers in India has increased with the introduction of English from class I in primary schools. Moreover, English medium schools affiliated to the State and Central Boards of Secondary Education have mushroomed in rural and semi-urban areas of the country. Taking note of this job market requirement, higher education institutions in India have introduced certificate and diploma courses to train English language teachers.

Table 1

Teacher Training Courses in Indian Higher Education Institutions

Title of the programme

Acronym

Higher Education Institution

Acronym

Certificate in Teaching of English as a second language

CTE

Indira Gandhi National Open University

IGNOU

Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching English

PGCTE

Regional Institute of English, Chandigarh

RIE

Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English

PGDTE

The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad

EFLU

Post Graduate Diploma in English Language Teaching

PGDELT

Regional Institute of English, South  India, Bangalore

RIESI

Bachelor of Education (English)

B.Ed.

H M Patel Institute of English Training and  Research, Gujarat

HMPIETR

 

In addition, in the BA (English Special) programme, Gujarat University offers an elective paper “Spoken English and ELT” for regular students. Core and elective papers in ELT are offered in the MA (English) programmes by Goa University, Jammu University, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Osmania University, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Saurashtra University and University of Lucknow, to name a few. 

MA (ELT) Programmes in Indian Universities

Recently, a few Indian universities have started offering an MA course in ELT programmes. For the purpose of this study, the courses or papers offered in these programmes during 2011-2012 and 2014-15 in the following five Indian universities will be considered: 

Table 2

The MA (ELT) Programmes in Select Indian Universities

Name of University

Acronym

Title of the Programme

Mode

Year of Implementation

Aligarh Muslim University, Uttar Pradesh

AMU

MA (ELT)

Regular

w 2014-15

Gauhati University, Assam

GU

MA in English Language and ELT

Regular

d  2014-15

Netaji Subhas Open University, West Bengal

NSOU

MA in English Language Teaching

Distance education

a  2012

Potti Sreeamulu Telgu University, Telangana

PSTU

MA English Language Teaching

Distance education

w 2014-15

Sardar Patel  University, Gujarat

SPU

MA ELT

Regular

w 2011-12

Note. w= with effect from; d= during

 

Hereafter, the universities will be referred to by their acronyms. The components of the courses or papers offered in these programmes can be broadly classified under the following categories.

A.        Aspects of Linguistics:

            i)       Phonetics and phonology

            ii)      Morphology and syntax

            iii)     Developing language skills

B.        Applied Linguistics:

            i)       Stylistics and

            ii)      Translation studies

C.        Components of ELT:

            i)       Introduction to ELT: Principles and concepts

            ii)      ELT: Approaches and methods

            iii)     Teaching of Skills: Oral, written and grammar

            iv)    ESP and teaching of functional English

            v)     Course design and materials production

            vi)    Teaching of literature

            vii)   Testing and evaluation

            viii)  Teaching practice and projects in ELT

D.        Literature & Criticism:

            i)       Introduction to English literature

            ii)      Literary criticism and theory

E.        Allied Components:

            i)       Research methodology and

            ii)      Academic writing

It appears that these universities mainly aim to develop the linguistic competence of prospective teachers and acquaint them with ELT methodology. For instance, AMU and PSTU focus on English Linguistics and Phonetics in the first year of MA (ELT). Furthermore, these programmes seem to emphasize only on theoretical orientation, though AMU and GU have included “teaching practice” and only SPU includes a “Comprehensive Viva”.

The MA (ELT) being a specialized programme, Linguistics and ELT naturally get the prime focus and Literature gets less weightage. However, SPU offers elective papers in Literature and GU offers a paper entitled “Specimens of English Literature”. In addition to “Critical Trends in Theories” and “Teaching of Literature”, NSOU has a paper titled “Literary Materials Exploitation and Classroom Application”. Similarly, “Introduction to English Literature” and “English Literature and Thought” are offered by PSTU. Though AMU has a paper on the teaching of Literature, it does not offer a literature paper.

It is necessary to evaluate these papers or courses with respect to the needs of prospective teachers. Here is an attempt in this direction.

Needs of the Prospective Teachers and the MA (ELT) Programmes

The Curriculum Development Committee of the UGC (1989) noted that, “It is common knowledge that a large number of those who successfully complete MA in English become teachers of English at the undergraduate level” (p. 32). However, to qualify for teaching in the colleges and university departments across India, the English postgraduate students have to appear for the University Grants Commission’s National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) or State (Level) Eligibility Test [S(L)ET] in English. Since an MA (ELT) programme is not equivalent to B.Ed., but is equivalent to an MA (English) programme (see Frequently Asked Questions on the HMPIETR home page), it would be worthwhile here to consider the syllabi of MA (ELT) vis-a-vis the syllabus of UGC-NET/S(L)ET (2012) in English. The focus of the present study is to know whether the MA (ELT) programmes prepare students for tertiary level teaching. 

The UGC-NET / S(L)E T in English and the MA (ELT) Programmes

The UGC-NET/S(L)ET in English has two subject-specific papers. The syllabus of paper II is comprised of ten core units, with eight on British Literature, one on American and other Non-British Literatures and one on Prosody. Paper III also consists of ten core units—seven on British Literature, two on Contemporary Literary Theory and Criticism and one on literary comprehension. In addition, there are five elective units—History of English Language and English Language Teaching, European Literature, Indian Writing in English (IWE), American and other Non-British Literatures and Literary Theory and Criticism. 

Let us first consider the electives in the UGC-NET/S(L)ET syllabus.

Table 3

Elective Units in the UGC-NET Paper III and Select Universities

UGC-NET Paper III – Elective Units

AMU

GU

NSOU

PSTU

SPU (Electives)

History of English language, English language teaching

History of English language

--

--

--

--

--

English language teaching

a

a

a

a

 a

(core)

European literature from Classical Age to the 20th century

--

--

--

--

 

a

Indian writing in English and Indian literature in English translation

--

--

--

--

a

American and other non-British literatures               

--

--

--

--

--

Literary theory and criticism

--

--

a

a

a

 

UGC-NET/S(L)ET is especially designed for prospective college and university teachers of English for whom there is no separate teacher training. Nevertheless, there is no place for Linguistics and ELT in the core units of paper II and III of this test. “History of English Language and English Language Teaching” is one of the five electives in paper III of this test. The programmes considered here do not include the “History of English Language” paper in their courses. Among the electives, papers in “Literary Theory and Criticism” may be found in NSTU, PSTU and SPU. In fact, SPU is the only university to offer an elective in European Literature and IWE. There is no core or elective paper on American and other non-British Literatures in these universities. It should be noted that in the new format (only objective questions in paper III), effective from June 2012, postgraduate students in English are expected to be thoroughly acquainted with all five electives of the UGC-NET/S(L)ET paper III. The core units in the UGC-NET syllabus fail to find a place in the MA (ELT) programmes considered here. 

Table 4

Core units in the UGC NET papers II and III and Literature Papers in the MA (ELT) Programmes

Core units in the UGC-NET syllabus

NSOU

PSTU

SPU (Electives)

Up to the Renaissance / Chaucer to Shakespeare

--

--

English Literature: Middle Ages to Restoration Age

Jacobean to Restoration Periods

--

--

Augustan Age: 18th Century Literature

--

--

English Literature: Augustan Age to the Romantic Era

Romantic Period

--

--

Victorian and
Pre-Raphaelites

--

--

English Literature: From the Victorian Age to 1942

Modern/Contemporary British Literature

--

--

English Literature: Post World War II

Literary Theory and Criticism (P-II)

Introduction to Linguistic & Literary Theory

MA-II -P-2 – Literary Criticism and
Theory

 

Literary Criticism

Literary Theory and Criticism upto T. S. Eliot (P-III)

Contemporary Theory (P-III)

P-V - Trends in Critical Theories

--

Literary Theory

Rhetoric and Prosody (P-II)

--

--

--

 

It was noticed that the MA (ELT) programme offered by SPU seeks to balance the literature and language components. Though SPU offers literature courses as electives, it obliquely tries to prepare the students to qualify for the UGC-NET/S(L)ET in English. It is also necessary to acquaint the MA (ELT) students with the history of British Literature and the elective components of the UGC-NET/S(L)ET in English. Some Indian universities that have separate papers in their MA (English) programmes, such as “The History of English and Fundamentals of Literature” are: Maulana Azad National Urdu University (2013-2014), “History of English literature”; Himachal Pradesh University (November 2007); and Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar University,  “Literary Ages and Movements” (2013-2014).

Conclusion

This overview of the MA (ELT) programmes provides a glimpse of the contemporary teacher-training scenario in the country. After completing their postgraduation in English, students become eligible to teach in schools and colleges. The “English for Specific Purposes” components in GU, SPU and PSTU orient students to teach in Agriculture, Management, Nursing and Engineering colleges, where neither B.Ed. nor the UGC-NET/S(L)ET in English is a prerequisite. Since the MA (ELT) programme is neither equivalent to a B.Ed., nor does it help students to qualify for the UGC-NET/S(L)ET, it is necessary to refurbish the existing MA (ELT) programmes in Indian universities.

Though a handful of Indian universities offer MA (Linguistics) and MA (Comparative Literature), Linguistics and Comparative Literature, sub-disciplines of English studies are treated as separate subjects for the UGC-NET. As core and elective papers in ELT are offered in about fifty percent Indian universities, ELT also should be considered as a separate subject for the UGC-NET. This would not only boost the emerging trend of offering MA (ELT) programmes, but will also ensure the availability of more trained and qualified teachers of English for tertiary level teaching.

References

Aligarh Muslim University. (2014). MA ELT II Semester: General and English Phonetics_B 2015-2016.  Retrieved July 8, 2014 from http://www.amu.ac.in/newdata/syllabus/10020.pdf.

Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar University. (2014). Course structure for MA (English) 2013-14. Retrieved July 13, 2014 from http://www.dbrau.ac.in/pdf_syllabus/arts_faculty_/ma_english.pdf.

Gauhati University. (2015). M.A. in English language and ELT (2014-15). Retrieved March 3, 2015 from http://gauhati.ac.in/coursedetail.php?cat=Department&id=English%20Langua....

Gujarat University. (2008). List of Syllabus (English Special - 2005-06). Retrieved December 10, 2008 from http:// www.gujaratuniversity.org.in/web/WebSyllabus.asp.

H. M. Patel Institute of English Training and Research. (2014). B.Ed. (English) and MA (ELT). Retrieved May 30, 2014 from http://www.hmpenglish.com/courses.

Himachal Pradesh University. (2014). Syllabus of M.A. English - November 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2014 from http://hpuniv.nic.in/PDF/english_ma.pdf.

Indira Gandhi National Open University. (2014). Certificate in Teaching of English as a Second Language. Retrieved May 30, 2014 from http://www.ignou.ac.in/ignou/studentzone/programmes/7.

Maulana Azad National Urdu University. (2014). Master of Arts (MA) in English. Retrieved July 14, 2014 from http://www.manuu.ac.in/EnglishDept/MAEnglishSyllabus.pdf.

Netaji Subhas Open University. (2012). M.A in English Language Teaching. Retrieved December 15, 2012 from http://ambitioninstitute.org/download_syllabus/ M.A._in_ELT.pdf.

Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University. (2015). Centre for Distance Education: Prospectus (2014-15). Retrieved March 3, 2015 from http://teluguuniversity.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/CDE-Prospectus-....

Regional Institute of English. (2014). Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching English. Retrieved May 23, 2014 from http://www.rieni.org.

Regional Institute of English South India. (2014). Post Graduate Diploma in English Language Teaching. Retrieved May 23, 2014 from http://www.riesi.kar.nic.in/RIESI%20-%20BROUCHER.pdf .

Sardar Patel University. (2012). M.A. (ELT). Retrieved December 15, 2012 from http:// www.spuvvn.edu/students_corner/syllabi/ma/elt/index.php.

The English and Foreign Language University. (2014). Prospectus 2014-2015. Retrieved May 25, 2014 from http://efluniversity.ac.in/prospectus-2014-15.

University Grants Commission. (1989). Report of Curriculum Development Centre for English. New Delhi:  University Grants Commission.

University Grants Commission. (2012). Syllabus of the UGC-NET- English. New Delhi: University Grants Commission.

ravishmi1@gmail.com
Ravindra B. Tasildar teaches English at S.N. Arts, D.J.M. Commerce and B.N.S. Science College, Sangamner, District, Ahmednagar (Maharashtra) and Savitribai Phule Pune University (Formerly University of Pune).