AIOU holds first-ever conference on English learning

ISLAMABAD:Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Friday held here a first-ever national conference on

latest trends of English and Literature in order to expand the scope of language so that people other than the elite class could also properly understand it.

The two-day event was organized by the University’s Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission. It was largely attended by scholars, academicians and students from all over the country.

While addressing the opening session, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Shahid Siddiqui said that the University would adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to develop the language, both in qualitative and quantitative way.

He announced that the department would publish a special journal on the subject by next year to provide academic support to the teachers of the English language.

The teaching community, he asserted should re-position itself to familiarize their students with new trends of the language, laying greater focus on theoretical aspect. Adopting inter-disciplinary approach is imperative to meet the growing challenges in the education sector, he added.

The event was arranged to create awareness and understanding about various dynamics of English language and to provide a platform to its graduate students to showcase their research talents and share the same with their fellow students and researchers.

Eminent educationist Dr Tariq Rehman was the key-note speaker who deliberated upon the history of English language and various phases of its development. The speakers on the occasion included Dean Social Sciences Dr Samina Awan, chairperson of English department Dr Farzana Ursani and the conference coordinator Dr Shahim Ali.

Dr Shahid Siddiqui further said English which was considered as the language of elite class should also be promoted among other sections of the society to meet the its needs and overcome the knowledge gap. He also called for expanding the boundaries of the language’s themes for its proper understanding.

He apprised the participants about the academic achievements, made during the last three years, since he took over the helm of the affairs. Promoting research cultural in the country was the main focus. During a short-span of time, they published fourteen research journals and held twenty-four national and international conferences to disseminate the research finding to its end users.

In its educational pursuit, the AIOU designed and offered 26 brand new academic programs that covered various disciplines relating to the society’s basic needs.

In order to expand the academic network, three new departments were set up, relating to the subjects of politics and international relations, psychology and translation of study material.

A number of steps were also taken to serve the marginalized sections of the society. Currently, the University is providing free education to prisoners, disabled persons, drop-out girls and transgender group. Accessibility Centers were set up at their 44 regional offices for visually impaired students, he added.

Dr Tariq Rehman in his key-note address further stated the Muslim leaders like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan were on the forefront in the introducing the English in the sub-continent. He dispelled the impression that any ‘fatwa’ was pronounced at that time against the English’s learning.

With a passage of time, he added English became a major source of learning and got popular among the middle class as well. It grew as linguistic capital and met the society’s needs coming up at par with developed countries.

During the working sessions, the participants discussed pedagogical issues relating to English and literature and suggested ways and means to make its learning more broad-based and efficient.