A study of the specific English language needs of engineering students of Adama Science and Technology University (Ethiopia): A case study

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Polytechnic of Namibia, Departments of Language and Communication


This study focused on analysing the ESP needs of engineering students at Adama Science and Technology University (ASTU) and the extent to which these needs of students have a proper place in the syllabus redesign and material preparation. Special focus was on the course technical report writing which was designed to enhance the successful training and preparation of engineering students for effective and efficient workplace performances. Second year students, engineers and course instructors at the University and employers (institutions) participated in this study. The first group of respondents was students. A total population of 630 students took the course. From this total population, 189 students (30%) were randomly selected and included in the study. This means that 68 students from the Civil Engineering, 67 students from Mechanical and 54 students from Geomatics Engineering were the specific respondents of the study. The second groups of respondents were employers and English instructors of engineering students. Five instructors, who were offering the technical report writing course, were first taken as data sources. Secondly, employers, namely Adama Municipality and the GIZ construction, Adama project office were involved to find out the type and the purpose of English language these employers expected from their engineering employees. Qualitative and quantitative data were drawn from these participants through questionnaires, interviews and focus-group discussions. To gather additional data and crosscheck responses, text analysis was made on the course technical report writing. Findings from the responses of the participants revealed that English was highly demanded in both occupational and academic domains of the engineering profession. However, there was a huge gap between their needs and what the course offered, between their future targets and their present competences, based on the responses found from the participants through questionnaires, FGD and interviews.


*Regional Communications, Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Development Innovator, ISSD Ethiopia (serawit_tesema@yahoo.com, Tel: +251-911-977910) **Deputy Director/Associate Professor, Department of Communication, FHS, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Windhoek, Namibia


English for Specific Purpose (ESP), Technical report writing, Engineering, English for Academic Purposes, Needs analysis and English as a Foreign Language (EFL)


Tesema, S. A., & Woldemariam, H. Z. (2016). A study of the specific English language needs of engineering students of Adama Science and Technology University (Ethiopia): A case study. NAWA Journal of Language & Communication, 10(1), 17–40.