Prospects for Anglophone Studies: Comparing Indian and British Programmes and Methodologies

Lead Research Organisation: Open University
Department Name: English


This two-year networking project will examine the content, curriculum and pedagogic practices of what we call 'Anglophone Studies' or AS (including English language and linguistics, literatures in English, and Anglophone culture studies) as they support students in the current globalising social and economic context. In the first phase we will explore the issues in contemporary Indian Higher Education (HE) programmes; in the second stage, the situation in this regard in India will be considered comparatively with that in Britain. We expect the investigation to model and foster change amongst the AS academic community. Funding is sought to develop our network, drawing staff from centres in three universities in Delhi - English Department, Delhi University (DU); Modern Languages School, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) [both listed as 'centres of excellence' in the Arts and Humanities Research Mapping, India report, June 2010, Research Councils UK]; English Department, Jamia Milia University (JMU) -- and the English Department, The Open University (OU). This network will clarify the terms/remit of discussion, consider ways of expanding its membership to national scales, and identify areas for further investigation through a series of meetings and three workshops in India and Britain.

In a broad way, we expect this project and the consequent future programme to: (1) lead to reconsideration of and, where necessary, reform of the AS curriculum and pedagogic practices in Indian and British HE; (2) clarify the relationship of HE AS to employment in India, and intervene in policy and practices pertinent to this; (3) similarly throw comparative light on this relationship in the UK; (4) understand the success of Indian graduates in the national and global (with the UK case in focus) employment marketplace; (5) provide information to employers in sectors anywhere who wish to be appraised of developments in this area; (6) and foster collaboration and research between Indian and British academics, policy-makers and industry. Thereby we expect to fill significant lacunae in the current research context while engaging with important social and academic trends.

The workshops will involve Indian and British AS academics/researchers and education policy-makers, and representative employers outside academia, i.e. media and arts industries, firms providing/using Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services, publishing and education/training enterprises. Bodies and organizations representing different AS disciplines, government and education policy, and employers have been approached by the applicants and collaborators of this project already, and have been given assurances of participation. The first two workshops will take place in Delhi, focusing on 'Employer Expectations and Indian AS Graduates' first, and then on 'AS Curriculum, Pedagogy and the Market'; the third will be in London, on 'AS Programmes and Graduate Destinations in Britain and India: Comparative Perspectives'. The core group of organisers will also meet thrice as a planning committee before, between and after the workshops, to plan them and realise reports and published outcomes, to arrange publicity and dissemination, and to plan a follow-on research programme. Within the project period three reports will be prepared and circulated and a co-edited scholarly volume prepared for publication. A text-based, public-access project website will be used to profile events, place reports and provide a common forum for the network.

By this project's end the applicants will have planned and started lobbying/applying for support for a large-scale (extending to the national level in India and Britain) programme involving original data-collection, research publications, and ongoing production of reports/analyses for HE policy/academic bodies and employer bodies.

Planned Impact

The impact of the Network stage of this project will be to raise the profile of the relation of Anglophone Studies (AS) and employability in Higher Education in the UK and India. Overall, the project aims to make proposals to refigure AS to enhance its role in education for participation in modern globalised and industrial society.
The comparative element in the project enhances impact in the UK, by offering the model of Indian HE where AS have always had a substantial vocational dimension and value for students.

Outcomes and Impact:
The reports listed in the Case for Support will demonstrate possible impacts by including assessments of present effectiveness in the following areas, together with indications for change to be pursued in the next stage of the project:
1. the vocational value of study of AS at tertiary education level
2. syllabus, assessment and learning outcomes (particularly transferable skills for managers and administrators)
3. the role of creative writing (in relation to the creative industries and writing more generally)
4. resources (text books, online publications) that support change

The outcomes of the Network project will be in the form of position papers, 'alerts', and conference presentations, as a preliminary to more extensive outputs from the follow-on programme. We expect beneficiaries to include:
>> Government and Policy-determining bodies (e.g. UGC, HEFCE, SFCE, British Council);
>> Employers organisations (e.g. FICCI, NASSCOM )
>> University managers (at VC, PVC, Dean level in collaborating universities)
>> Text book and online content providers (Longmans, OUP India, Blackwells, Hodder UK).
A fuller range of beneficiaries are listed, and how they will be approached outlined, in the Pathways to Impact statement.

The project envisages that its work will have an impact in both India and in the UK. Our initial focus will be in India where it will fit well within the policies for HE in the Government's XIth Plan. These target a substantial increase in participation but linked to the economic development of society. Our hypothesis is that the modern (and particularly vocational) value of AS in Indian HE has been underestimated and underconsidered. 'Vocational' AS is seen in terms of a lowest common denominator 'Microsoft' language, rather than a subject which is beneficial to the economy because it teaches high level communication and problem solving skills which are relevant to trade, the commercial and financial sector and management generally.
The second element in the project is then to take the situation in India as an exemplar and turn the focus back onto the UK situation where English remains one of the most popular choices for students in HE. In certain ways (focus on learning outcomes, skills development) UK HE is in advance of Indian HE, but there remains a problem in engaging students in AS with the world of work, and doing so in ways that benefit from the values and skills learnt within the subject and in engagement between the subject and the culture of work.
We see this project as laying the ground for change which has the potential to impact on the nation's health, wealth or culture, through the developing of analyses, case studies, and exemplars for change. The core group of staff working on the project will be drawn from AS. They are marked already by an interest in the nature of AS and its future development. The workshop structure of the network stage of the project will bring together a core group from academia anxious to consider change with interested parties from outside HE in targeted reflections on curriculum design and pedagogy, the conceptualising of the role of education, and particularly of the relation of HE and business and economic development.
Description The research organised a series of three workshops (two in Delhi and one in London) to explore the condition of English Studies (language, literature and cultural studies as delivered through HE programmes) in India with a comparative perspective from UK. Participants in these included academics from a range of differently oriented HE institutions, representative employers, HE administrators and policy makers, and other stakeholders. The key issues discussed involved curriculum change, policy environment, and employment. Reports on each workshop were produced and circulated, and posted on the project website. They key findings were: (1) in India policy in this regard is outdated and in the process of reformulation, some directions are anticipated which may well be analogous to policy developments in the UK over the last two decades; (2) at the level of curriculum and research, there is a shift of emphasis from literature/cultural studies to language proficiency and vocational skills -- but this is unevenly evidenced; (3) employers and other stakeholders in India are generally supportive of HE provision in English Studies programmes, though pressing for greater attention to employability and skills; (4) HE discipline-specific data in India is unevenly collected and collated, and UK systems in this regard may provide useful models; (5) Various education service providers have made investments in the Indian ELT market, but student recruitment from India into UK HE English Studies programmes are likely to be affected by divergence in academic objectives.

Two important and unanticipated outcomes of this project are worthy of special mention. One: the project was able to undertake the largest available HE Indian English Studies student survey by administering a detailed questionnaire and collating the results. The findings are posted on the project website and will appear in contracted publications soon. Two: a short-lived attempt at instituting undergraduate programme change at Delhi University (from three to four years) enabled investigators to conduct an investigation of the pros and cons of such programme reform by consulting teachers, administrators, and students. The findings are posted on the project website.
Exploitation Route 1. The focus of the workshops was on the Delhi region and a limited number of UK institutions. There is considerable scope for further discussion on the issues raised in other regions of India and the UK.
2. In particular, the student survey in india -- though the largest available -- is limited also to the Delhi region. There is a pressing need to extend such surveying with an all India scale.
3. The project was designed to prepare the ground for further and wider exploration, especially in the direction of data collection in India. While the rationale for this further work evolved to a satisfactory extent during the project, and some groundwork for further collaboration prepared, it eventually turned out that it would probably be counterproductive to move in that direction immediately. The HE sector and education policy in India is extremely fluid at present and undergoing rapid change. The next stage of this project is best undertaken once the situation stabilizes -- which is likely once the new national education policy is determined and becomes operational.
4. The role being played by UK education service providers in India, and by collaborative initiatives between UK and Indian institutions, was only superficially delved in this project (though the involvement of British Council India in the project clarified the importance of this). This could be an area for further research with academic as well and social and economic impact.
Sectors Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

Description The workshops involved participation of employers (from BPO, publishing, schools), stakeholders (such as community representatives), university administrators and persons on government HE policy bodies, international organizations (such as the British Council). Reports of these discussions are available in the publicly accessible project website, and circulated. The results of the student survey are also available on the project website. Every step has been taken to ensure that the project's findings are easily available and widely profiled for the information of interested parties outside academia. The raw data of the survey and an analysis thereof has also been published in book form, in Reconsidering English Studies in Indian Higher Education (Routledge 2015).
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Education
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

Description Entrepreneurial Literary Research
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NG160076 
Organisation Newton Fund 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2017
Description Santander Mobility Grant
Amount £4,600 (GBP)
Organisation Santander Universities 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2017 
End 09/2017
Title India HE English Studies Student Survey (Delhi Region) 
Description Statistical profile of Indian (Delhi Region) English Studies (undergraduate) students' backgrounds, experience of programmes and aspirations. 600 returns to a detailed survey questionnaire were processed to generate tabular and graphic data -- publicly accessible at An analysis of this data occupies a chapter in a contracted volume arising from this project (to be published by Routledge in 2015). 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The questionnaire template was developed by the PI, Suman Gupta, in the context of an earlier project on English Studies in East Europe (2007-2010). Its successful use in this project, after consultation with teachers and administrators in India and minor modifications, shows that it is a robust template which may be accommodated to further use in other contexts to generate comparable data. It could also form the basis of wider range surveying in India as a follow-on to this project at an appropriate juncture. The project investigators anticipate interest in it once the analysis based on this data is published. 
Description Entrepreneurial Literary Research 
Organisation State University of Campinas
Country Brazil 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have jointly organised two workshops in 2017, one in UNICAMP Brazil and one in OU London: Impact of Literary Research Outside Academia, 5-6 April; Employability and Literary Studies/Creative Writing, 2-3 August.
Collaborator Contribution The collaboration involved research visits from 2 professors and 3 PhD students of the Department of Critical Theory UNICAMP and Literature UNIFESP, Brazil.
Impact Two workshops, one blog-site (, one co-authored book.
Start Year 2017
Description Project Workshop in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi 
Organisation Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The project paid travel costs for participants to the workshop, and some of the accommodation, subsistence, hospitality and material costs. The project also provided overall academic coordination of the workshop and produced the workshop report.
Collaborator Contribution The partners provided a venue free of charge, arranged for subsidised accommodation, subsistence and hospitality for particpants. The partners also provided local coordination of the organization fot he workshop.
Impact A 16 page detailed report which is available at It forms the basis of a chapter in a monograph arising from the project contracted with Routledge for publication in 2015.
Start Year 2012
Description Project workshop at Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi 
Organisation Jamia Millia Islamia
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The project provided costs of travel, accommodation, subsistence and hospitality for the workshop. The project also undertook overall academic coordination of the event and produced the resulting report.
Collaborator Contribution The partner provided a venue for the workshop free of charge, contributed to hospitality, and arranged for subsidised accommodation and subsistence for participants.
Impact A 16 page report of the workshop proceedings was produced and posted on the project website and circulated -- see This forms the basis of a chapter in a co-authored book arising fromt he project contracted with Routledge (due for publication in 2015).
Start Year 2013
Description Extension Lecture: English Studies in India, Jamia Millia University Delhi, 21 February 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An open lecture on the history and condition of English Studies in India. Around 80 persons attended, of whom 30 were undergraduate students of the institution where the lecture was invited.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
Description Invited participation in Bare Lit Festival panel: Free to Speak/ Free to Censor 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 26 May 2018 [Invited panel presentation]: Free to Speak/ Free to Censor, at the Bare Lit Festival, London, UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description Invited to participate in festival panel 'On Hinglish' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A panel discussion on "On Hinglish", part of The Litro World Series Arts and Literature Festival under the ZEE JLF@The British Library session series. It took place at SOAS, University of London, UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description Keynote Lecture: Fifth International Conference of the All India Network of English Teachers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The conference was attended by around 400 English teachers in schools, ELT specialists, education service providers, representatives of the Maharashtra State ministry for education, and from the British Council and Fulbright Commission. The keynote lecture presented some of the early findings of the project on 18 January in Nagpur, India. The visit was sponsored by the British Council India.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
Description Presentation: Workday on India as an Emerging Country, Faculté de Philosophie, Arts et Lettres, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A workday on India held at the Globalization and Literature Centre of the Catholic University of Louvain, attended by journalists, media industry professionals, academics and postgraduate students, in 29 October 2015. The presentation was about the English-Language publishing industry in India, and drew upon the project findings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
Description Public lecture: "Crisis in Indian English Studies" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An open to public lecture on the history and future of English Studies in India at the University of Delhi, attended by postgraduate students, publishers and other members of the public, followed by a discussion on future strategies for developing new areas of English Studies (publishing studies and creative writing).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017