Time to parler Anglais? (2)

March 22, 2002

Globalisation has increased the need for better communication. THES reporters look at universities that are promoting English as the common language.

English-medium instruction is increasing in popularity as the language consolidates its world domination both in the business sector and as a result of the influence of the internet.

Even in those countries where linguistic imperialism is fiercely resisted, such as France and Italy, courses taught in English are available for nationals of the countries concerned and for international students.

In some disciplines the motivation is academic - the desirability of tackling the seminal texts in their original language - especially in subjects such as economics and medicine.

Elsewhere, incentives are more mercenary - the opportunity for students to equip themselves for a global marketplace, or for universities to compete in the international scramble to recruit overseas students.

In Germany over the past four years, new English-taught courses aim to attract good foreign students who might normally choose the United States or Britain.

The hope is that graduates will inject new blood into German universities and encourage business links in later life.

Asians and Americans are being specially targeted but so too are East Europeans.

Universities are not only concerned about the high-fliers, however. From Uganda to Hong Kong, universities are finding that undergraduates' English is inadequate for their studies and in the latter case, are insisting on pre-graduation tests.

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