Norwegian universities warned on English use

Varied levels of English language proficiency among students could hamper learning

August 30, 2017

The Language Council of Norway has expressed its concern over the amount of university courses taught in English in the country.

Using too much English during courses can damage students’ education and life after graduating as the vast majority of students go on to work in a Norway, it said.

The council, known locally as Språkrådet, said that the problem was particularly pronounced for new students, who may find that almost their entire higher education programme is in English.

Ole Våge a senior advisor at the council, told Norweign broadcaster NRK: “It is completely natural to use both Norwegian and English. But we have seen that some classes are using solely English reading material.

“We are particularly concerned for new students who find that almost their entire programme is in English. We are not convinced about the learning benefits, as it’s not certain all students are good enough at English,” he said.

“It is a big problem if only English is used in education. The vast majority of people will be working in the Norwegian labour market afterwards,” he added.

But Gro Bjørnerud Mo, deputy rector at the University of Oslo, said that Norweign was the primary language of the university and the amount of English used in its classes varied depending on the programme.”

“We monitor closely language policies and the balance between English and other languages in our course catalogue,” she added.

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