Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy, employing a significant portion of the country’s workforce and contributing significantly to the GDP. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the agricultural sector in India, disrupting supply chains, affecting market prices, and posing significant challenges to farmers. However, the pandemic has also brought new opportunities for the sector to transform and adapt to the changing landscape. This research paper will examine the transformation of Indian agriculture during and post-COVID-19. First, technology implementation in Indian agriculture will be discussed, examining its ability to support growth and cope with adverse situations. Second, the farmer’s protest (2020-2021) and its impact on the development of Indian agriculture will be explored. Finally, it will examine the effects of COVID-19 on food security and dietary diversity in India.
Brief Summary of Sources
Many writers note that The COVID-19 pandemic has brought major transformations in Indian agriculture. For instance, it has improved the implementation of technology in Indian agriculture. According to Kumar, the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for innovation in the agri-tech sector in India. The author concludes that agri-tech companies have been able to create need-fulfilling tech products and services, resulting in evolutionary opportunities for suddenly open-to-tech Indian farmers since agri-networking platforms have increased by 30%(Para 2). Secondly, the authors argue that the 2020-2021 Indian farmers’ protests have also contributed immensely to the transformation of Indian agriculture. According to Lerche, the movement has a broad support base and aims to combat the threat that the farm laws and oppressive Hindu fundamentalist government pose to all social groups. The article concluded that the struggle for farm laws could disrupt the government’s political oppression beyond the agricultural sector but may not persist beyond the movement due to exploitation and oppression among its constituents. The fact that the protests could positively impact by offering reduced government pressure indicates that this is a major transformation for the Indian farmers (Lerche 12). Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic had some major impacts on food security and dietary diversity in India. A study by Gupta et al. shows a decline in household food expenditures and women’s dietary diversity, especially for non-staples like meats, eggs, vegetables, and fruits. Despite special provisions, such as PDS and direct benefit transfers, reaching a significant proportion of households, there were still restrictions on food access and availability(Gupta et al. 160). These sources collectively show that the pandemic has brought positive and negative transformations to Indian agriculture.
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the Indian agriculture sector by implementing technology. The pandemic acted as a catalyst, pushing the agri-tech sector to innovate and quickly solve the uncertainties created by the lockdowns. The restriction of transportation led to severe supply chain disruption, making it difficult for farmers to work as usual due to a lack of essential inputs. As a result, farmers and businesses in the agricultural sector adopted digital agri-products and business-farmer digital networks to drive transactions(Kumar para 2). The adoption of online portals for discussing crop and cattle issues increased by 30% due to restricted access to on-ground advisory services. The sudden strict lockdown brought untold uncertainty, and it took some time for young companies to absorb the implications and rise to the challenge of the new normal. These companies had to find ways to communicate virtually with the users, informing and educating rural farmers about the advancements and usage of technological innovations and their services. The pandemic hastened the adoption of technologies like digitization, supply chain innovations, data analytics, and IoT, validating ideas like business-farmer networks, input e-commerce platforms, and agri-marketplaces, boosting investors’ confidence. Despite the positive impact of technology implementation in the agricultural sector, different areas within the agricultural sector have experienced different impacts. The pandemic had a major impact on food security and dietary diversity in India. There was a decline in household food expenditures and women’s dietary diversity, especially for non-staples like meats, eggs, vegetables, and fruits. Despite special provisions such as PDS and direct benefit transfers, reaching a significant proportion of households, there were still restrictions on food access and availability.
The 2020-2021 protests in India were led by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) and focused on three farm acts passed by the Parliament of India in September 2020, which the protesters deemed “anti-farmer laws”. The acts were criticized for leaving farmers at the “mercy of corporates” and not ensuring a minimum support price (MSP) bill(“Farmers’ protest: Samyukta Kisan Morcha declares 19 November as ‘Fateh Diwas’”, par 1). The SKM demanded the repeal of the laws and the creation of an MSP bill. The protests brought together a broad coalition of farmers, agricultural labourers, and other marginalized groups, including Dalits and workers(Lerche 1381). The alliance between these groups was crucial in the success of the protests and has the potential to lead to enduring popular alliances across caste and class divides. The farm laws posed a serious threat to the agrarian livelihoods of farmers, particularly those in North India and other parts of the country where the government procurement system is in place. The laws were seen as a challenge to the profits of capitalist farmers at a time when non-agricultural livelihoods and accumulation opportunities were drying out for them. The partial move into non-agricultural work of farmers and agricultural labourers also facilitated an alliance with formal sector workers and informalized labour.
The impact of the farmers’ protest on the development of Indian agriculture is significant. The farmers’ protest highlighted India’s urgent need for agricultural reform. The struggle has made the government and the general public aware of the challenges farmers face in India, including the decline in land-holding sizes and the move out of agriculture (Lerche 1383). The protest has shown that farmers need support and that the government must ensure that reforms do not negatively impact their livelihoods. The farmers’ protest has also highlighted the need for broader alliances between different social groups in India. The struggle has shown that farmers, agricultural labourers, and other groups can unite to fight for their rights. The farmers’ movement has the potential to create enduring popular alliances across the caste-class divide between Dalit labourers and petty commodity producers, as well as agrarian capitalists from farming castes. Overall, the farmers’ protest in India was a broad-based and progressive struggle that brought attention to the challenges faced by farmers in India. The impact of the protest on the development of Indian agriculture is significant, and the struggle could create enduring popular alliances across the caste-class divide.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted food security and dietary diversity in India, and the agricultural sector has been no exception. The pandemic has disrupted the entire food supply chain, from production to distribution to consumption, resulting in challenges for farmers, food processors, and consumers. The pandemic has led to a decline in agricultural production and supply chains, which has resulted in food insecurity in many parts of India (Gupta et al. 158). Supply chain disruptions have made it challenging for farmers to transport their crops to markets, decreasing their produce. Furthermore, lockdowns led to labour shortages, making it difficult for farmers to cultivate and harvest crops. The reduction in food availability affected dietary diversity, as people had to rely on limited food options due to the unavailability of certain foods(Gupta 158). This has resulted in increased reliance on staple foods, such as rice and wheat, and a decrease in the consumption of fruits and vegetables, essential for a healthy and balanced diet.
However, the pandemic has also presented an opportunity to transform the agricultural sector in India. The pandemic has highlighted the need for increased agricultural investments, especially in technology, infrastructure, and logistics. Investment in rural infrastructure such as roads, storage facilities, and marketplaces can improve the efficiency of the supply chain, reduce food waste, and increase market access for farmers(Gupta et al. 180). Furthermore, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of diversifying the agricultural sector to ensure food security and dietary diversity. Diversification can be achieved by promoting cultivating nutritionally rich crops with a longer shelf life, such as pulses, fruits, and vegetables. A study done by Jaacks et al. found that among the 16% of farmers who did report cultivating a different crop in 2020 as compared to 2019, during the covid period, many transitioned from growing rice to growing higher-value, nutrient-dense crops (vegetables), citing weather and the market price as underlying reasons. Diversification can help improve the availability and affordability of these foods, thus increasing their consumption and improving dietary diversity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Indian agriculture sector in various ways and provided opportunities for transformation and adaptation. This paper has examined the transformations of Indian agriculture during and post-COVID-19. Technology implementation in the agricultural sector has been discussed, highlighting its ability to support growth and cope with adverse situations. The farmer’s protest of 2020-2021 and its impact on the development of Indian agriculture were also explored. Finally, the impact of COVID-19 on food security and dietary diversity in India was examined. The pandemic has transformed the Indian agriculture sector through the implementation of technology. The adoption of digital agri products and business-farmer digital networks has driven transactions and helped overcome the disruptions in the supply chain. The pandemic hastened the adoption of technologies like digitization, supply chain innovations, data analytics, and IoT. Despite the positive impact of technology on the agricultural sector, different areas within the sector have experienced different impacts. COVID-19 has also had a major impact on food security and dietary diversity in India, leading to declining household food expenditures and women’s dietary diversity. The 2020-2021 farmers’ protests in India have had a broad coalition of farmers, agricultural labourers, and other marginalized groups coming together to demand the repeal of the laws and the creation of a minimum support price (MSP) bill. The alliance between these groups was crucial in the success of the protests and has the potential to lead to enduring popular alliances across caste and class divides. Overall, the transformations in Indian agriculture due to COVID-19 are positive and negative. However, the pandemic has created new opportunities for the sector to transform and adapt to the changing landscape. It is essential to recognize the wider implications of these transformations and understand how they can be applied to similar issues in the future, not just in India but globally. The pandemic has highlighted the need for more resilient and sustainable food systems, and these transformations provide a framework for future improvements in the sector.
“Farmers’ protest: Samyukta Kisan Morcha declares 19 November as ‘Fateh Diwas’.” mint, www.livemint.com/news/india/farmers-protest-samyukta-kisan-morcha-declares-19-november-as-fateh-diwas-11668676091465.html. Accessed 27 March 2023.
Gupta, Soumya, et al. “COVID-19 and women’s nutrition security: panel data evidence from rural India.” Economia Politica, July 2021, https://doi.org/10.1007/s40888-021-00233-9.
Jaacks, Lindsay M., et al. “Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agriculture in India: Cross-sectional results from a nationally representative survey.” PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, vol. 1, no. 8, Aug. 2022, p. e0000026, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pstr.0000026.
Kumar, Avinash. How agri-tech companies evolved during the pandemic & their impact on India’s agriculture. 2021.
Lerche, Jens. “The farm laws struggle 2020–2021: class-caste alliances and bypassed agrarian transition in neoliberal India.” The Journal of Peasant Studies, vol. 48, no. 7, Oct. 2021, pp. 1380–96, https://doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2021.1986013.
International Human Resource Management University Essay Example
“International Framework Agreements are more effective at engaging with trade unions than Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Codes of Practice.” Critically evaluate and discuss this statement.
Two essential strategies that multinational corporations (MNCs) can employ to control the social and environmental repercussions of their activities are corporate social responsibility (CSR) and international framework agreements (IFAs). CSR codes of practice are voluntary programmes that motivate MNCs to accept accountability for their effects on the environment and society. IFAs, on the other hand, are contracts between MNCs and labour organisations that outline the fundamentals and requirements for human rights, social and environmental standards, and labour rights (Li et al., 2019).
I have examined the usefulness of corporate social responsibility (CSR) codes of practice and international framework agreements (IFAs) in this essay’s discussion of how to interact with labour unions. IFAs are more effective than CSR Rules of Practice in engaging with labour unions, according to my main claim based on the research study (Gold et al., 2020).
IFAs give MNCs and trade unions a platform for social dialogue, allowing the parties to bargain and reach social policies and labour standards. IFAs also offer a platform for monitoring and enforcing labour laws because they have systems for reporting, keeping track of, and resolving disputes. Research has demonstrated that IFAs can be a valuable tool for enhancing working conditions, fostering social interaction, and boosting union membership.
Yet, CSR Codes of Practice are frequently accused of needing more enforcement and accountability procedures and instead rely on voluntary activities. Despite the fact that MNCs’ adherence to CSR Codes of Practice might be seen as an indication of their dedication to ethical business practises, these guidelines might not be enough to encourage MNCs to follow labour laws or cooperate with unions. The institutional context in which CSR Codes of Practice are applied determines their effectiveness as well, and countries with robust legal systems and high levels of enforcement may find that their use is less effective.
In light of the fact that IFAs offer a more robust framework for social dialogue, monitoring, and the enforcement of labour norms, they are more effective in interacting with trade unions than CSR Codes of Practice.
Effectiveness of IFAs in Engaging with Trade Unions
International Framework Agreements (IFAs) are agreements between multinational corporations (MNCs) and trade unions that specify the fundamentals and requirements for human rights, labour rights, and social and environmental standards. IFAs’ primary goals are to enhance working conditions and advance social dialogue between MNCs and unions. The success of IFAs in interacting with trade unions is influenced by a number of variables, such as the willingness of MNCs to interact with trade unions, the legal system in the nation where the IFA is implemented, and the participation of local trade unions in the negotiation and implementation of the IFA.
The usefulness of IFAs in interacting with unions has been investigated in a number of researches. According to a study, IFAs can be a valuable method for interacting with trade unions, especially in nations where labour laws are lax or ineffectively implemented. The study discovered that IFAs could support social dialogue between MNCs and trade unions and aid in improving working conditions. The study also discovered that the IFA’s success depends on the local trade unions’ participation in its negotiation and implementation.
Similarly, a study examined the effectiveness of IFAs in improving working conditions in the Indian garment industry. The study found that IFAs can be an effective mechanism for improving working conditions, particularly in sectors where labour standards are weak or poorly enforced. The study also found that the involvement of local trade unions in negotiating and implementing the IFA is critical for its success. However, the study also identified several challenges, including the reluctance of some MNCs to engage with trade unions and the weak legal framework in India for enforcing labour standards.
Under the prism of institutional theory, the efficiency of IFAs in interacting with unions can also be examined. According to an institutional theory, organizations are shaped by the norms, values, and rules of their institutional environment. The standards and norms of the global society, which place a high emphasis on labour rights and social and environmental standards, have an impact on MNCs in the context of IFAs. MNCs can strengthen their credibility and reputation by announcing their adherence to these standards and principles by signing IFAs.
IFAs’ ability to interact with unions, meanwhile, also depends on the institutional setting in which they are used. Institutions can either be heterodox or isomorphic. Organizations are supposed to adhere to a set of norms and procedures uniform in isomorphic institutions, which are characterised by a high level of homogeneity. While organisations have more liberty to adopt various norms and procedures in heterodox institutions, they are distinguished by a high level of diversity.
The institutional backdrop in the context of IFAs can influence how well the agreements work to engage with unions. IFAs may need to be more successful in enhancing working conditions in nations with isomorphic institutional settings where labour laws are strictly upheld and implemented. This is because MNCs are already required to adhere to labour laws in these nations. IFAs may be more successful in enhancing working conditions in nations with heterodox institutional environments where labour rules are lax or ineffectively implemented since they give trade unions a forum to interact with MNCs about workers’ rights and working conditions.
In numerous nations, IFAs have successfully improved working conditions. For instance, the International Framework Agreement (IFA) between the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the French oil company Total was signed in 2014. It resulted in the implementation of a number of measures to enhance working conditions and safety standards for personnel on the company’s offshore platforms (ITF, 2014). Similar to this, the International Framework Agreement (IFA) that H&M and IndustriALL Global Union signed in 2014 resulted in the creation of a worldwide framework agreement covering topics including freedom of association, collective bargaining, and health and safety (IndustriALL, 2014).
Therefore, the success of IFAs in interacting with unions depends on a number of variables, including the willingness of MNCs to interact with unions, the legal environment in the nation where the IFA is implemented, and the participation of local trade unions in the IFA’s drafting and implementation. Especially in nations where labour laws are lax or poorly implemented, studies have shown that IFAs can be a valuable tool for enhancing working conditions and encouraging social interaction between MNCs and trade unions (Hennebert et al., 2023).
Factors affecting the effectiveness of International Framework Agreements (IFAs) in engaging with Trade Unions
International Framework Agreements (IFAs) are voluntarily signed agreements between multinational companies (MNCs) and global union federations (GUFs) with the objective of enhancing labour standards and working conditions throughout the MNC’s worldwide supply chain. The efficiency of IFAs in interacting with unions depends on a number of variables, such as the degree of commitment from both parties, the nature and details of the agreement, and any outside forces that might affect how the agreement is carried out.
- Commitment from both parties
The level of dedication from both MNCs and GUFs is a significant factor in whether IFAs are successful in working with labour unions. The agreement is not likely effective if one or both parties do not genuinely want to raise labour standards and working conditions. As a result, it’s critical that both parties agree on the goals of the contract and the significance of working together to attain those goals.
- Scope and content of the agreement
The efficiency of IFAs depends heavily on the scope and content of the agreement. A wide range of topics, including fundamental labour rights, health and safety, pay and benefits, and social discussion, should be covered under the agreement. The greater the agreement’s scope, the more probable it is to improve working conditions and worker rights. The agreement should also include quantifiable goals and deadlines for tracking and evaluating progress (Marassi, S, 2020).
- Implementation and monitoring mechanisms
The agreement’s implementation and oversight procedures are significant determinants of how effective the agreement will be. IFAs should have well-defined processes for notifying authorities about labour law infractions and dealing with them, as well as impartial and effective grievance procedures. In order to make sure the agreement is carried out successfully and to highlight areas for improvement, regular monitoring and assessment should also be done (Zimmer, R, 2020).
- External factors
Local rules and regulations, political stability, and economic conditions are just a few examples of outside variables that have an impact on how well IFAs interact with labour unions. For instance, the agreement’s implementation might be more difficult in nations with lax labour regulations. In a similar vein, the implementation of the agreement may need to be improved or improved in nations with fragile political or economic climates. As a result, it’s critical to consider these outside variables and collaborate with local players, such as governments and civil society organisations, to handle any issues that might occur.
- Capacity of trade unions
(Cotton, E, 2019) Another critical element is the ability of trade unions to interact with IFAs. The tools and knowledge trade unions need to negotiate and implement the agreement successfully should be available to them. To make sure that the agreement is carried out and enforced at the local level, they need also to have a significant presence and influence in the nations where the MNC conducts business.
Therefore, it is crucial to make sure that these variables are thoroughly reviewed and handled during the negotiation and implementation of IFAs in order to enhance their efficacy.
Effectiveness of CSR Codes of Practice in Engaging with Trade Unions
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Codes of Practice are voluntary programmes to promote ethical business conduct, including respect for human rights, social and environmental norms, and labour laws. CSR Codes of Practice, which define the standards and principles for ethical corporate behaviour, are often created by MNCs (Bourguignon et al., 2020). The success of CSR Codes of Practice in interacting with unions depends on a number of variables, such as the extent to which the Codes are enforced, the degree of interaction between MNCs and unions, and the accountability mechanisms in place to check compliance with the Codes.
Several studies have looked at the efficiency of CSR Codes of Practice in interacting with labour unions. CSR Codes of Practice can be a helpful tool for interacting with labour unions, according to a study by Utting and Marques (2010), especially if coupled with strong accountability measures. The study concluded that CSR Codes of Practice could support social dialogue between MNCs and trade unions, improve working conditions, and enhance corporate social responsibility. The study also discovered that the success of CSR Codes of Practice depends heavily on the level of involvement between MNCs and trade unions.
Similarly, Taylor and Napier’s study from 2005 looked at the efficiency of CSR Codes of Practice in interacting with trade unions in the South African mining industry. The study discovered that CSR Codes of Practice could be a powerful tool for enhancing working conditions, especially when they are created through a process of social dialogue between MNCs and trade unions. The study also discovered that the willingness of MNCs to cooperate with unions and the degree of trust between the parties is necessary for CSR Codes of Practice to be effective.
Using the prism of institutional theory, it is possible to examine how well CSR Codes of Practice interact with trade unions. The institutional theory asserts that an organization’s culture is moulded by the standards, beliefs, and laws of its institutional setting (Scott, 2008). MNCs are impacted by the standards and ideals of the global community, which place high importance on ethical business practices in the context of CSR Codes of Practice. MNCs can increase their legitimacy and reputation by adopting CSR Codes of Practice, which demonstrate their commitment to these standards and values (Aggarwal et al., 2019).
The institutional setting in which CSR Codes of Practice are implemented, meanwhile, also influences how well they work in interacting with unions. Due to the fact that CSR Codes of Practice offer a forum for communication between MNCs and trade unions, they may be more effective in interacting with unions in nations with lax legal systems and low levels of enforcement. CSR Codes of Practice, however, may be less effective in interacting with unions in nations with robust legal systems and high levels of enforcement because MNCs are already required to adhere to labour laws in these nations.
Factors affecting the effectiveness of CSR Codes of Practice in engaging with Trade Unions
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Codes of Practice are voluntary guidelines developed by companies to promote responsible business practices and improve their social and environmental impact. These codes can also play a role in engaging with trade unions, particularly in the context of supply chains. The effectiveness of CSR codes of practice in engaging with trade unions depends on several other factors, including:
- Clarity and specificity of the code
For the CSR code to be effective in interacting with unions, it must be clear and precise. The expectations and requirements that businesses must meet in relation to labour rights, working conditions, and other social and environmental issues should be clearly stated in the code. The code should also outline the steps that businesses must take to ensure compliance and lay out precise instructions for filing complaints or reporting infractions. The code should be written in a simple manner that both workers and labour unions can understand, and it should also be translated into the languages of the nations where the corporation conducts business (Muchlinski, P, 2021).
- Credibility and legitimacy of the code
In order to interact with unions, it’s crucial to consider the CSR code’s legitimacy and reliability. Trade unions, as well as other interested parties, should be included in the development of the code, which should be based on internationally accepted norms and standards such the conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO). To ensure that the business is adhering to the code’s principles, the code should also be approved by impartial third parties, such as civil society organisations or certification agencies. To guarantee that the code is current and useful, it should be examined and updated on a regular basis (Kassem, et al., 2023).
- Access to information and transparency
Access to information and transparency are also important for the effectiveness of CSR standards of practise in working with unions. The company’s supply chain should be thoroughly described in the code, including the locations and working circumstances of its suppliers and subcontractors (Losada-Otálora et al., 2021). A company’s performance in upholding the criteria set forth in the code, including any infractions or complaints, should be disclosed in the code. Trade unions should be able to utilise this information to hold the firm responsible for its deeds and should have access to it.
- Communication and consultation
For CSR codes of practice to be effective in working with unions, there must be effective communication and engagement with the unions. To learn about the unions’ interests and concerns and to have their influence on the creation and application of the code, businesses should have regular conversations with them. To aid trade unions in comprehending and successfully implementing the code, businesses should also offer training and capacity building to them (D’Andrea et al., 2019).
- Enforcement and sanctions
The effectiveness of CSR codes of practice in engaging with trade unions also depends on the enforcement mechanisms and sanctions in place. The code should specify the consequences for non-compliance and provide for effective grievance mechanisms that allow trade unions and workers to report violations and seek redress. Sanctions should be meaningful and proportionate to the severity of the violation and should include remedies for workers who have been harmed (Kurniawan, et al., 2020).
The clarity and specificity of the code, its credibility and legitimacy, access to information and transparency, communication and consultation with trade unions, and the enforcement mechanisms and sanctions in place are just a few of the variables that influence how well CSR codes of practice engage with trade unions. Businesses are more likely to successfully interact with unions and promote ethical business practices if they give these considerations top priority when developing and putting into practice their CSR codes of practice.
The argument is that when it comes to interacting with trade unions, international framework agreements (IFAs) are more useful than corporate social responsibility (CSR) codes of practice. This is due to the fact that IFAs are legally binding agreements between corporations and trade unions that address a wide variety of concerns and offer enforceable methods, whereas CSR codes are voluntary guidelines that may lack specificity and enforceability. However based on different aspects including clarity, credibility, transparency, communication, and enforcement procedures, both IFAs and CSR codes can help to promote ethical company practices and interact with trade unions.
IFAs (International Framework Agreements) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Codes of Practice can both be used to engage with trade unions and promote ethical company practices, although it seems that IFAs are more successful at doing so than CSR codes (Torres et al., 2021). IFAs are legally binding contracts with enforcement processes that address a wide range of issues, whereas CSR codes are voluntarily agreed-upon standards that might not be as detailed or enforceable. IFAs and CSR codes’ efficacy, however, is dependent on a number of elements, including their clarity, veracity, transparency, communication and enforcement methods. To effectively interact with trade unions and advance ethical business practices, companies should give priority to these elements while developing and implementing their agreements or codes.
The essay contends the fact that IFAs are legally binding contracts that address a variety of concerns and offer enforceable methods makes them more useful. CSR codes, on the other hand, are voluntary standards that could be vague and difficult to enforce. IFAs and CSR codes both rely on elements like clarity, trust, transparency, communication, and enforcement procedures to be effective. For successful engagement with trade unions and promotion of ethical business practices, companies should give priority to these criteria in the creation and implementation of their agreements or codes.
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Language Barrier Among International Students In Canada Free Sample
Canada is one of the most attractive countries for students who dream of studying abroad and staying in the country in which they study. By the end of 2022, more than 800,000 international students resided in Canada, with more than half admitted in the same year. The country’s attractiveness is further boosted by its policy that offers an easy process of obtaining permanent citizenship to international students. Further, the country’s education is highly ranked in the world. Most students come from Nigeria, the US, Brazil, India, and France. Studying abroad offers countless opportunities to international students.
Apart from earning high-quality education and having the privilege of studying at prestigious universities, they get an opportunity to interact and learn from many people. This greatly helps in improving the confidence and self-esteem of the students. However, many challenges come with studying abroad. One of the major challenges is communication. Language barrier has been a great hindrance to effective communication among international students. Ali et al. (2020) affirm that the language barrier is a leading cause of stress among students who study abroad. This paper examines the extent of differences in language as a barrier to effective communication among international students in Canada.
Various studies have been done to study the problems in adjustment that international students face in foreign countries. As they adjust to the new environment, international students face several challenges related to Canada’s culture and traditions. The language barrier is one of the major stressors for international students (Ali et al., 2020). This shows difficulties in communication caused by the language barrier are a critical issue that needs to be addressed. Ge et al. (2019), in a study on Chinese students studying in Canada, noted that almost all Chinese students identified the language barrier as the biggest challenge of studying in Canada alongside cultural differences. This research provided tips on how to deal with the language barrier. Some of the recommendations included self-socializing, which involved watching movies alone or interacting with family and friends back home. Whereas this method may relieve the frustrations caused by the language barrier, it does not offer a long-term solution.
Tavares (2021) studied the experiences of five international students studying in different universities across Canada. He noted that the students felt secluded due to their lack of fluency in English. Their inability to communicate in English made them feel they were not treated equally to the other English-fluent students. Difficulties in communication with the instructors also contributed to the frustration with the accent and the speed of speaking in English among the professors being an issue of concern. The study found that the plight of international students in Canada needs to be fully explored, with the students feeling excluded and not ushered into Canadian society. (Khanal & Gaulee, 2019) studied the challenges international students face in the UK, the US, Australia, and Canada. They noted that the language barrier problem continues to haunt international students even after completing their studies. With most international students opting to stay in the host country after graduating, they continue facing linguistic challenges when they start working.
Alharbi & Smith (2018) used a model of PubMed and PsycINFO databases in their research on the experiences of foreign students in English-speaking countries. Using undergraduate and postgraduate student samples, the research used 38 empirical studies across Canada, the UK, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand. The study found that language-related problems and academic stress are leading causes of stress. The researchers emphasized acculturative stress as the most common stressor for international students. Acculturative stress is a theory used to study psychological challenges people face during acculturation. The stress is a mental and emotional response to events that occur when one is adapting to a new and different culture. The language barrier among international students hastens the development of acculturative stress when they start studying in Canada since communication both inside and outside the classroom becomes difficult.
The extent of the effects of language barrier to international students in Canada has yet to be properly studied. The language barrier has been overlooked, and its effects have yet to be deeply examined. This study aims to examine the problems that international students face due to communication difficulties.
Being an English-speaking country, most lectures across Canadian universities are conducted purely in English. Thus, international students must learn English for them to be on par with the other students who understand the language. Many international students find it difficult because apart from English not being their first language, they have used other languages for their education until the university level. For example, a Chinese medical student who just joined a Canadian university faces difficulties because she knows all the medical concepts in Chinese. In contrast, the professor at the Canadian university insists on English as the language of learning (Ge et al., 2019). Hence, they need help understanding the content of their courses when taught in English. International students have reported that the accent of lecturers and instructors makes it even more difficult to understand despite knowing basic English. The speed of English speaking among the instructors has also been an issue among international students. This demoralizes the student who hopes to obtain high-quality education in Canada (Khanal & Gaulee, 2019).
Feelings of frustration and lack of self-confidence in communication barre the international students from fully participating in class. Language barriers cause difficulties in essay writing, comprehension of concepts, and the speech clarity of professors. This mostly occurs during the first months of studying in Canada. Hence international students become self-conscious due to the inability to converse comfortably and may fear speaking in public. Difficulties in understanding instructors and fellow students in classwork discussions have a detrimental effect on the student’s academic performance.
Apart from the difficulties in class, international students face interaction problems due to the language barrier problem. Most international students reported that Americans’ speech speed makes it difficult to have informal interactions with fellow students. International students lack contextual knowledge compared to their English-speaking counterparts. They find idioms in English and Canadian slang difficult to understand, given their little or no knowledge of the English language. The students also face difficulties in pronouncing English words, speaking fluency and correctly using appropriate words in a particular context. This makes the students feel they are not fully embraced by Canadian society due to their foreign accents and lack of English knowledge.
Differences in language have been linked to self-consciousness and lack of confidence among international students in Canadian learning institutions. As a leading cause of stress language barrier negatively affects the mental health of international students when they lack self-esteem and fear speaking among their English-speaking colleagues due to fear of being laughed at or lack of appropriate words. The study has found the extent of the problems caused by language barriers to international students in Canada. These problems which were not well-documented before have made international students’ stay in the country very difficult. Some international students who have considered the challenges unbearable have opted to pursue their education in other countries, while others have returned to their home countries. This study could have been more effective if more time and technology had been allocated. Instead of mainly focusing on the theoretical part of the study, it would have been better if the study involved actual interviews with international students, local students, and the administration of the various universities in Canada.
Problems in the Study
The challenges international students face in Canada have yet to be adequately researched. Most studies focused on all the countries that have internationalized their education systems. Very few studies have narrowed their focus to specific countries such as Canada. More research needs to be done on the plight of international students in Canada, especially communication challenges. Canadian universities need to form groups of researchers that study the linguistic problems that international students face and recommend solutions to these problems.
Indeed, the effects of the language barrier have been far-reaching and detrimental to international students’ experiences in Canada. This study has exposed the need for more research on international students’ challenges. The data on a large number of international students in Canada and their ever-increasing number suggests that the study should take the direction of studying the possibility of having international students being taught in their own language. This topic is vital because it helps raise awareness of international students’ plight and find solutions to the challenges facing them.
Ali, S., Yoenanto, N. H., & Nurdibyanandaru, D. (2020). Language barrier is the cause of stress among international students of Universitas airlangga. PRASASTI: Journal of Linguistics, 5(2), 242. https://doi.org/10.20961/prasasti.v5i2.44355
Canadian Bureau for International Education. (2023, March 14). International students in Canada infographic. CBIE. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from https://cbie.ca/infographic/
Ge, L., Brown, D., & Durst, D. (2019). Chinese international students’ experiences in a Canadian university. Journal of International Students, 9(2), 582–612. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v0i0.272
Khanal, J., & Gaulee, U. (2019). Challenges of international students from pre-departure to post-study. Journal of International Students, 9(2), 560–581. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v9i2.673
Tavares, V. (2021). Feeling excluded: International Students Experience Equity, diversity and inclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2021.2008536