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Languages in globalizing world

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    Is there a danger that English as the medium of international university instruction will play as increasingly elitist role in the field of education?

    Definition:
    According to David Crystal (2008), “a language achieves a genuinely global status when it develops a special role that is recognized in every country.” (P.3) English will play an increasingly elitist role in the education field means that small group of people who use English as their language has a lot of power or advantages based on the education system. If English wants achieve the status of elitist role in the education field; it has to be taken up by other countries across the globe in the education sector. English as the medium of instruction:

    English as a lingua franca is widely used among the world in different fields. In order to achieve a higher university ranking, most of the universities across the globe are using English as the medium of instruction because of the following reasons: First, English attracts international students and staff from different nations. English as a lingua franca is to provide a mutually intelligible medium for speakers in different nationalities. English also helps facilitating communication among speakers of different languages. Therefore, when a university is using English, it is easier for the university to attract international students and staff, and thus it could be more internationalize. Internationalization is of utmost importance for a university to receive a higher ranking. According to Times Higher Supplement, most of the finest universities in the world, such as Harvard University, Cambridge University, Yale University, are using English as the medium of instruction. Take China as an example, more and more universities in China pay increasingly emphasis on English in order to become more internationalize.

    According to David Nunan, “Teaching English is emerging as a private business outside regular schools and universities, particularly in big cities, such as Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing.”(P.595) This indicates that English is playing an increasingly important role in the China tertiary education. Backing to Hong Kong, the tertiary education in Hong Kong is also dominated by the English language. There are six out of eight universities in Hong Kong are using English as the medium of instruction. Apart from the universities’ decision to increase its intake of non-local students, to broaden the international horizons is also one of the reasons why universities choose to use English as the medium of instruction. The university has emphasized that the importance of promoting English ability in order to “broaden academic and cultural vision.” (The Chinese University of Hong Kong 2005, 1 February)

    Reference:
    David Nunan. The impact of English as a Global Language on Educational Policies and Practices in the Asia-Pacific Region. (P.589-613) Po King Choi (2010). “Weep for Chinese University”: a case study of English hegemony and academic capitalism on higher education in Hong Kong. David Crystal (2004) English as a global language (P.3)UK: Cambridge University

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