A Need-Based Evaluation of the EAP Courses for the Pharmacy Students in the University of Asia Pacific (UAP), Bangladesh

By Chowdhury, Takad Ahmed; Haider, Md Zulfeqar | Asian Social Science, December 2012 | Go to article overview

A Need-Based Evaluation of the EAP Courses for the Pharmacy Students in the University of Asia Pacific (UAP), Bangladesh


Chowdhury, Takad Ahmed, Haider, Md Zulfeqar, Asian Social Science


Abstract

The quality and effectiveness of EAP courses offered to the students aspiring to study in the private universities in Bangladesh is a matter of increasing concern for the teachers and students alike. All the 56 private universities emerged in the country within a span of not more than two decades, use English as their medium of instruction. Students of most of these universities are sorely aware of the difficulties to carry on their studies due to limited proficiency and study skills in English. Although every university in Bangladesh offers English courses which are supposed to meet the required language needs of the students of various disciplines, it is time to raise question about the efficiency of these courses and the extent they actually address the needs of the students. This study focuses on the efficacy of the EAP courses offered to the students of pharmacy discipline at the University of Asia Pacific (UAP), a private university in Bangladesh. The study examines the content and structure of the EAP courses and explores the academic as well as work-related needs of the potential pharmacy professionals to formulate strategies that may reinforce the overall effectiveness of such English language programs. The study was based on a needs-analysis survey of 40 undergraduate level students of Department of Pharmacy and four teachers who teach the EAP courses at the same university. It is found from the study that the current EAP courses have major drawbacks in meeting learners' expectations and replicating the acquired language skills for both academic and professional purposes. It is recommended that the EAP courses could be further improved by incorporating materials relevant to the core subject and by putting more emphasis on writing and speaking skills, the two productive skills that are considered most important and difficult by the students concerned.

Keywords: EAP, needs analysis, tertiary education, professional needs, pharmacy students, Bangladesh, UAP

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction to the Problem

All the private universities in Bangladesh offer at least two semesters of English language teaching. Most offer a foundation course in the first semester covering the basic components of the language, and more advanced courses in the second semester covering topics like advanced writing, English composition, English communication skills, presentation and public speaking skills, report writing etc. Most of these courses can be classified as English for Academic Purposes (EAP).

EAP has been described as first, a move away from an emphasis on the literature and culture of English speakers towards a more practical command of the language; and, second, a move towards a view that the teaching of the language should be matched to the needs and purposes of the language learners. The English language courses taught at the tertiary level are usually EAP courses, since the objectives of these courses are not only to give students a practical command of English but also to enable them to use the language in the study of their fields of specialization. Hence, an EAP course usually begins with the learner and the situation, whereas a general English course begins with the language itself as the prime focus. In fact, most general English courses tend to teach the learners conversational and social genres of the language while EAP courses tend to teach formal and specialized academic genres.

The quality and effectiveness of the language courses offered to students aspiring to study pharmacy in English medium universities appears to be a matter of great concern because of the far reaching impact they leave on the academic and professional endeavors of the students concerned. The future prospects of these students are mostly contingent upon their academic success at tertiary level. Such EAP courses, therefore, must facilitate the kind of learning that ensures that the learners are placed in the best possible position to cope with the challenges of academic study as well as the typical language needs to be encountered in their professional domains. …

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