India 'taps French-speakers for new outsourcing'

22nd March 2004, Comments 0 comments

NEW DELHI, March 21 (AFP) - India, whose vast pool of English-speaking professionals has brought it thousands of outsourcing jobs, plans to tap its French speakers to capture new markets, a report said Sunday.

NEW DELHI, March 21 (AFP) - India, whose vast pool of English-speaking professionals has brought it thousands of outsourcing jobs, plans to tap its French speakers to capture new markets, a report said Sunday.

The Indian government plans to start training and recruitment for hi-tech workers in the country's former French enclaves, "particularly Pondicherry in the far south."

Many of the people there learn French right from school," K.K. Jaswal, secretary in India's information technology ministry, told The Indian Express newspaper.

Jaswal called the French speakers "excellent candidates" for outsourcing, although he said the quality of their French has been declining amid the increasing popularity of English instruction.

Pondicherry, which has a population of just under one million, was handed over by France to India in 1954 with the understanding that the former colony would keep running French-medium state-run schools.

A number of institutes in India's major cities also teach French, drawing in particular students seeking work visas for Canada.

But hi-tech work remains dominated by English. Sriram Subramnya of Integra, a Pondicherry-based electronic book publishing firm, said only two percent of the company's work came from France."

In the future, when markets open up, the French-speaking skills of people will be an advantage," he said.

India, which enjoys the largest pool of English-speaking graduates after the United States, has at least 170,000 people employed by outsourcing who earn a fraction of their Western counterparts.

Outsourcing has stirred a growing backlash in the United States with a number of political leaders demanding action to stop the export of high-paying jobs.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

 

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