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Why Should Learning English be Paramount for Future Leaders? English is the most widely spoken language in the world and is the official language of 53 countries

By Jagruti Gala

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"One language sets you in a corridor for life, two languages open every door along the way." - Frank Smith

India adopted English as one of the official languages for business communication in the sixties but how far have we come since? The use of the language has grown rapidly through media, education and various government initiatives. However, surveys suggest that approximately only 4 per cent of the Indian population can speak and write in English.

English has been the legacy of colonisation to India. From being the "Queen's language' to acquiring the status of Associate Official Language of Administration, it has become a crucial aspect in a plethora of fields. Naturally, there is a fundamental need for developing linguistic competence in English. Many Indian parents see this as a language of aspiration and success and want their children to learn it.

Importance of Learning English

Learning English is incredibly essential for young children for several additional reasons. First and foremost, it is the most widely spoken language in the world and is the official language of 53 countries. Moreover, it is the first language for around 400 million people around the world - that is a lot of people to meet and speak to. Knowing the language can certainly open a portal of good career choices. Being one of the official languages for business, it is primarily used in aviation, computers, education, tourism, media and even the internet. English learners also enjoy books, songs, tv series and films in English that not only entertain them but can also expand their vocabulary. If children are to become the leaders of a new world order, fluency in English will greatly empower them to influence the world.

Fluency in a language is about more than just speaking it fluidly. The best command comes from a conscious and full grasp of all the aspects of using language - listening, speaking, reading and writing. The best expression comes from being able to think in the language. These skills are correlated to the skill of reading which improves fluency and comprehension. Being a cognitive task, it enhances other cognitive processes like memory and attention. As it deepens one's level of cognition, reading enriches knowledge and makes us more informed. Reading complex matter and exploring a wide variety of reading material empowers an individual to have opinions and thoughts. It provokes you to ask questions and think logically, to analyse and assimilate information. These are critical thinking skills, that can be strengthened through extensive and intensive reading. Once these cognitive skills are developed and enriched, the individual becomes eloquent and equipped to speak English confidently.

The intent is not to learn English and get by in the world, but to learn English to be able to influence the world.

English proficiency is an essential component for leadership and for influencing the world. Leadership skills magnify with good language skills. English proficiency is an indispensable tool for communicating with the world around. The language and words that the leaders use in their conversations are often a reflection of their leadership style and determines how their peers and employees look at them. Since it is an international language, a lot of the world's knowledge is presented in English. Individuals who cannot comprehend written or spoken English, often find themselves excluded from national and global policies.

What you speak and write is dependent on how you think and how you think is influenced, to a great extent, by how and what you read. Building a habit of reading both extensively and intensively is central to their mission.

"Read at every wait; read at all hours; read within leisure; read in times of labour; read as one goes in; read as one goes out. The task of the educated mind is simply put: read to lead." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

Jagruti Gala

Founding Director - Stones2Milestones.

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