Communication skills course in bridging the gap of weak Students’ communicative competence and accentuating Performance: a case of Sokoine University of Agriculture

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This paper reports the findings on the effectiveness of Communication Skills (CS) course in boosting students’ communication competence at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). In particular, the study determined whether there is a relationship between the ability in the CS and performance in other courses offered at the university. It also assessed the impact of the course on the students’ performance in other courses of their specialty after the training of the course, and lastly, it gauged the extent of effectiveness of the course. The study involved instructors and students and were obtained through random and purposive sampling procedures. Data for the study were collected using questionnaires, interviews and documentary reviews, and were treated qualitatively and quantitatively. The findings show that the course is not much effective at boosting students’ communication competence. Furthermore, it is revealed that there is no relationship between the CS course and other courses. This is perhaps the least anticipated result of all because one of the key objectives for teaching CS course is for it to help students to perform better in other courses of their specialization. Instead of simply concluding that CS and other courses are not connected or there is no impact of CS on other courses, there is a need of considering exceptional factors which have led to the situation. Of course, improved performance because of CS is expected, but based on these findings, there is no clear effect, partly would be because most of the non-CS instructors are being concerned much with the material content of their courses, rather than the grammatical/CS parts when evaluating students’ works. This makes CS components not reflected in the students’ performance of most of the courses. The study urges the government to improve and expand infrastructures to match with enrollment. Again, it needs to hire more academic staff and retain them through improving their salaries, incentives and payments of their demands to remedy the problem of high teacher-students ratio which is currently alarming.


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Communication Skills, Effectiveness, English Grammar, Communicative Competence