English language proficiency for Higher Education and professional contexts: the challenge Burundi is facing for global integration
AbstractThis paper assesses foreign language proficiency acquired in higher education in light of the communicative skills needed in professional life. English majors at the University of Burundi took TOEFL and completed a questionnaire investigating their potential role in the country’s regional integration. Results indicate that (i) the level of proficiency is rather low with the majority of graduating students at intermediate level; (ii) skills/components develop in the order grammar, reading comprehension and vocabulary, and listening, i.e. receptive skills are better developed than productive/communicative skills and, (iii) English majors are aware of both the linguistic challenges to be met and their role in the country’s regional integration in the East African Community. On the basis of the findings, which are underscored by lecturers, suggestions are made for redefining teaching/learning objectives and outcomes in the hope to enhance graduates' general language proficiency and the professional roles of future generations of English majors.
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