Want to increase both personal happiness and employment opportunities? You should consider honing your English language skills.
Rabat- A recent study has established that learning English is associated with greater personal growth and improved employment prospects.
The study, conducted by Wall Street English, one of the world’s largest providers of English lessons for non-native learners, concluded that mastering English is among the frequent requirements of leadership and management positions in a number of companies in the non-English speaking countries.
More specifically, the study’s findings indicate that a better command of English is directly linked with a 25% increase in individuals’ monthly earnings, 18% in personal happiness, and 12% in overall positive life experiences.
“The better their English, the happier they feel,” the study reported, hinting at a strong correlation between English language mastery and personal outlook on life.
The functioning of the ever-shifting and globalizing workplace is perhaps the ultimate manifestation of English’s meteoric rise in popularity and significance in non-English speaking countries.
When faced with a choice between two qualified employees for an important managerial position, for example, companies across the world tends to prefer the candidate with better English communication skills.
Among the people interviewed for the study, 68% said that learning English has had a positive impact on their professional lives. They said the language has increased their employment opportunities while improving their long-term career projects.
By contrast, only 34% of non-English speaking professionals reported having the same positive outlook on their personal growth and career prospects.
“English learners declared that English has opened them new doors in terms of career improvement, with 31% saying that they learned English in the hope of finding jobs they are most passionate about,” the study noted.
While an essential part of individuals’ motivation to embrace English, however, career opportunities and economic calculations are far from being the sole motivations for the world’s English language enthusiasts.
For an increasing number of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students, personal growth goes beyond professional position and monthly wage. Also important in the global embrace of English is people’s need to expand their social, intellectual, and cultural horizons. With English being the lingua franca of a relentlessly globalizing world, lack of proficiency in the language diminishes people’s experience of global trends in all fields.
While some reported learning English to have a better grasp of global hits in the music industry or watch their favorite Television series (Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and Game of Thrones were among the most cited series) in their original versions, others said they added English to their linguistic arsenal so they can make the most of their travels and foreign encounters.
Jim Macgowan, a worker at Wall Street English employee, explained that in addition to improving their students’ professional and financial prospects, English has been for the students a springboard for making global connections and experiencing new ways of being in a globalizing world.
“As globalization brings people closer, English is reducing [social] gaps by creating new opportunities for world citizens.”
Resonance in Morocco
The study comes as Morocco finds itself caught in a fierce debate between conservative and liberal Moroccans on the government’s plan to reform the Moroccan education system by teaching scientific subjects in foreign languages rather than in Arabic.
According to the reform’s supporters, proficiency in languages other than Arabic will make Moroccan students and academics more competitive in the global knowledge market. Said Amzazi, the Moroccan minister of education, said in a recent interview that the reform is a requirement of globalization.
“Do we want to train our children in a vacuum in a model predefined for eternity and without regards for the changing world around, or do we rather want them to be equipped to be citizens of the world, capable of integrating themselves in competitive work settings, and having mastery over technological advances impacting all the fields?” Amzazi asked, explaining that Morocco has an obligation to “catch the train of globalization.”
On the other hand, there is the camp of Moroccans who seem uncompromisingly committed to what they call “Moroccanness” and “national pride.”
Largely conservative and Arabophone, that section of the Moroccan population has vehemently opposed the linguistic reform bill, decrying a policy move they say will effeminate Moroccan culture and identity at the expense of languages such as French.
But while authorities are pushing for the introduction of foreign languages, there is the perception that French, the heritage of centuries of bittersweet relations with France, is set to have the upper hand.
And as the two groups engage in an acrimonious debate over “the future of Morocco,” there is a third group of Moroccans who have said that, should the government choose to go ahead with the linguistic reform, English is a far better option than French.
This group’s reasoning is the same as the Wall Street English’s study. With French being far from the prestigious language it once was and English the undisputed language of global transactions, the third group posits, English should be the natural choice of any policy move aimed at changing the language of instruction in Moroccan schools.
Mohammed Belhaj, the owner of Rabat’s sole all English book store recently told Morocco World News that the advent of English is such that English will eventually have the better of the zeal of Morocco’s Arabophones and Francophones alike.
“The world is getting smaller and English is becoming more popular in Morocco,” Belhaj said, adding, “I’ve been in business for many years now because interest in English keeps growing. And you can’t fight growth.”