Bilingual bonuses

June 21, 2018

David Matthews’ article on the backlash in the Netherlands to the use of English in university courses, “Dutch seek curbs on anglophone students”, has particular relevance to Wales. Welsh universities work with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (National Welsh College) to develop bilingual courses. Initial evidence from the latest teaching excellence framework provides some insight into the success of these courses.

Data identifying students who have studied bilingually and those who have not allow us to build a relatively robust picture of the provision. We find that, generally, both the teaching and student support metrics are better for the bilingual students. More strikingly, those who have studied bilingually perform significantly better in securing highly skilled employment or progressing to further study.

Countries across Europe may want to think twice about rushing to develop provision in English, and maybe even consider the Welsh experience as an example of an alternative way forward.

Dafydd Trystan
Registrar Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, Cardiff

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