Italy


Study finds more universities around the world offering courses taught in English

by Ray Clancy on May 1, 2014

Students in non-English speaking countries are increasingly learning subjects like maths and science in English instead of their mother tongue, according to the findings of a new study.

Teaching in English is a ‘galloping phenomenon’ across the world and is causing controversy in some countries, with English being called the ‘new Latin’ because it is seen as a passport to global academic and business communities.

Students

Teaching in English is a ‘galloping phenomenon’ across the world and is causing controversy in some countries

Opinion is divided on whether this is a positive development. Some countries are opposed, with others embracing the opportunity, according to an interim report on new research by the British Council and University of Oxford’s Department of Education.

University administrators tend to regard “English as a Medium of Instruction” (EMI) as an opportunity to recruit high fee-paying international students and to rise up in global rankings. Lecturers are more idealistic, saying it could improve the exchange of ideas and promote better relations between countries.

‘English was considered by teachers as the ‘new Latin’, a world language which could facilitate movement in academia and business,’ says the report on the findings of research into the use of EMI in 55 countries.

‘EMI was a personal challenge, a way to improve personally and professionally as teachers advance their careers. Not only students, but teachers too, can become international in an EMI context,’ it explains.

However, there was some concern about the impact on the home language and culture, with fears that it could foster inequality between those (usually richer) students who could speak English and those who could not. Some countries, such as Pakistan, had changed their education policies to ensure that students from poorer backgrounds could learn English.

The findings form the first part of a research project into the spread and impact of EMI. The second phase will look at clusters of countries in more detail and include an online global survey to canvass the views of teachers across the world.

“We see the move to using English as the lingua franca of higher education globally as the most significant current trend in internationalising higher education,” said Anna Searle, the British Council’s director of English language.

Professor Ernesto Macaro, Director of the Department of Education at the University of Oxford, said more and more institutions across the world are using English to teach academic subjects. This development is spurred on by a desire to internationalise their offer and their academic profile.

“This phenomenon has very important implications in non-Anglophone countries for teaching and learning as well as for language policy decisions,” he added.

Respondents in nearly two thirds of countries reported policy changes in the past 10 years regarding teaching in English, but only around 40% had official policies in place. For example, a presidential decree in Uzbekistan encourages English to be taught, spoken and used for business and government ministry communication.

However, Israel, Senegal and Venezuela were said to be refusing that EMI be included in public education. Additionally, a higher education institution in Italy had fought and won a battle against the adoption of teaching in English.

Respondents, including university professors, administrators and public policy makers, had mixed views on its impact. Just over half, 50.9%, said EMI was controversial, but 38% were in favour and none said they were against it.

Respondents in 83% of countries said they did not have enough qualified teachers, and just 1.8% said they had sufficient numbers of qualified teachers.

Looking ahead, nearly 70% said they expected to see a growth in EMI, while just 7.3% thought it would decline, and 1.8% said it would stay the same.

Further research is needed into the level of English competence required to provide quality instruction, and into whether or not the learning of academic subjects is improved, the report concludes.

{ 0 comments }

Thumbnail image for Popular expat locations vary in transport resources

Popular expat locations vary in transport resources

October 11, 2013 Britain

Future expats who may rely on public transport are being urged to consider transport links when researching locations as services can vary considerably from country to country. Bus services in rural areas can be unreliable in many popular expat locations where routes can be regularly changed or dropped and in urban areas costs vary depending [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for British expat loses court case over voting rights

British expat loses court case over voting rights

May 8, 2013 Italy

A British expat who took a test case to the European Court of Human Rights to try to secure the right to vote in UK general elections has lost the case. Harry Shindler, 93, has lived in Italy since he retired from the army in 1982 argued that he should be allowed to vote in [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Strict new dress code being enforced in Rome for locals and visitors

Strict new dress code being enforced in Rome for locals and visitors

August 12, 2010 Italy

Expats in Italy are being reminded that strict dress codes are being stringently enforced with many popular sites refusing entry to those deemed to be wearing less than suitable attire. Top of the list is St Peter’s Square in Rome where a new dress code has been introduced by the Vatican City. Some visitors turning [...]

Read the full article →

Milan City Guide

August 19, 2009 Italy

Milan, or Milano, is a large, highly urbanized city in northern Italy.  It serves as the capital of the Milan Province and the Lombardy Region.  The city is surrounded by industrial suburbs, and is considered as a leading financial, commercial, and manufacturing center in Italy.  Milan also boasts the features of any modern city, such as towering [...]

Read the full article →

Florence City Guide

August 19, 2009 Italy

Florence, or Firenze, is a city situated in the central region of Tuscany in Italy, where it serves as the capital of the region and of the province of Florence.  The city is found on the Arno River at the foot of the Apennines Mountains.  Florence is considered as the cradle of Italian Renaissance and world-famous for its [...]

Read the full article →

I’m Italian and I can give you some info

July 23, 2009 Italy

There’s a rather different but ultimately very interesting thread in the Italian forum which initially began as a question and answer session with one Italian lady, but has since attracted the attention of more people who can add to the subject matter to hand. These are the types of threads which will keep going month [...]

Read the full article →

Earthquake rocks central Italy

April 6, 2009 Italy

An earthquake in central Italy this morning has left 92 people dead (although this figure is rising by the hour) and 1,500 injured. The quake is reported to have hit the Abruzzo area of central Italy at 3:32 AM this morning along a known faultline which has encountered various tremors in the past. Initially the [...]

Read the full article →

Should you make that move to Italy?

December 24, 2008 Italy

The Italian section of the forum has a very interesting post which covers the subject of whether a student should take up the opportunity to move to Italy and what this would entail. This particular post, and numerous others, seems to replicate the process and procedure which many people go through when looking to move [...]

Read the full article →

Rome City Guide

August 19, 2008 Italy

Rome is amongst the most famous cities of Italy. It is also called Roma, and this place is the capital city of Italy. It is also the largest and most densely inhabited commune of the country. It is found in the region of Lazio in central western Italy where the rivers Aniene and Tiber meet. The Vatican [...]

Read the full article →