English Language Skills and Job Opportunities as Observed by Students in Kurdish Universities
ELT department, Education Faculty, Tishk International University, Erbil, Iraq.
Since 1991, the government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has taken many steps toward developing the educational system in Kurdistan. Many universities and schools have been opened, and new legislations and curricula have been changed and added in accordance with the interest of the job market. The preparation of special English curricula is consistent with the educational developments in order to encourage Kurdish learners to improve their language skills. English became the medium of instruction in some private universities, therefore, students have to achieve a good command of English in order to be accepted in engineering, sciences and medical colleges. On the other hand, learning the English language is not merely a tool for achieving academic purposes or the job market, it is also for many Kurdish learners the path to join and present their story to the world.
The study’s goal is to investigate the role of English as a foreign language in providing expected job opportunities in Kurdish society, as well as the expected benefits in the workplace.The study uses a survey with a questionnaire to evoke the students’ opinions in this issue. The results showed that many sectors in the Kurdish market demand the knowledge of English language as Kurdistan became one of the important investment destinations in the Middle East. Many students agreed that knowing English will increase the chances of getting better job opportunities and better benefits. These results can be used as feedback for the English programs in Kurdish universities when assessing and developing their academic plans to provide students with the skills needed to meet the demands of the labor market.
Therefore, the study recommends to add marketplace language skills which focus on workplace related skills such as emailing, reports writing, communication skills, and public relations language skills in addition to traditional English language programs.
Keywords: English Language, Skills, job Opportunities, educational system.