THE IMPORTANCE OF ENGLISH IN THE GLOBAL ERA

UMIAn applicant for a prestigious position in a company came for an interview one day. He was the best student in his former school and was good in operating computers. However, after a moment of the interview, the interviewer asked him some questions by using English. None of English words came out from his mouth. Finally, he went home disappointedly because he failed in the interview and automatically could not get the good position in that company.

This phenomenon often happens recently in our country. Because of one's lack of English proficiency, one has to lose a valuable opportunity to get a job. In this writing, I would like to discuss how important English is in our life in accordance with the development of the globalization era for some reasons.

In the first place, English language has become an international language. It is proved that 129 out of 190 countries in all over the world use English as their means of communication (www.answer.com and www.wikipedia.com). In other words, around 68% of those countries are speaking in English. Imagine when we have to meet people from different countries in the same place; certainly the language they use must be English. And if we cannot speak English, we will not be able to get along with them. Even international sports events like the Asean Games, Olympic Games, World Cup or others make use of English to communicate each other. This is to say that how important is English language in the world.

Another reason why English is important is that it is used to fulfill the need of the technology development in the world. You can have a look at most of the instructions of electronic appliances today. Most of them are written in English. For those who understand English, they will have no problems to comprehend the instructions of how to use a certain machine. On the other hand, for those who know nothing about English will ask for help to translate the brochure. Another example of using English in the enterprise world is that a lot of companies need qualified and professional human resources to be employed in their companies. And one of the requirements is being able to communicate in written and spoken English. So, people who want to have good career in such companies in the future should have good English proficiency as their basic skills. How lucky the people who have such kind of skills are!

Last but not least, English has been becoming an important language in education field, not only in the universities, but also in primary and secondary schools in Indonesia and other developing countries. In tertiary education, for instance, most of the references are written in English regardless of the students' subject matters. Math and science students often find their materials very difficult due to the fact that most of their books and references are written in English. Then, nowadays as the implementation of Competence Based Curriculum there are many schools which apply a bilingual teaching and learning, especially schools which fulfill the National and International Standard. They are demanded to use English as a means of communication in the class. For example, science teachers have to use English when they are teaching about the materials on science to the students. As a result, it is expected that the output of those schools have got a special skill that is an ability to speak in English besides other skills, such as operating computers, art, and so on.

In conclusion, I would like to say that English is very essential to learn in the global era because of some reasons. As a means of communication English is spoken almost 70% of 190 countries in the world. Then, English is also used in the field of the technology development. Finally, English is the most needed language to learn among students not only in Indonesia, but also other countries all over the world.

(Umi Mahmudah, SPd., MEd)