fbpx
25/04/2019 Communication Science news and articles

Englishizing of higher education: is it a good thing?

The University of Amsterdam is planning on offering more and more educational programmes in English. In the last year however, there has been a lot more media attention for the fact that that change might not be entirely positive.


Walking around the Roeterseilandcampus of the University of Amsterdam, you will definitely notice that there are a lot of international students at UvA. And that number is ever growing because UvA is planning on offering more and more educational programmes in English. It hasn’t been long since Communication Science at UvA has started an English track, and Communication Science is amongst many in a line of other programmes who switched to English as their lingua franca. In the last year however, there has been a lot more media attention for the fact that that change might not be entirely positive.

Not entirely positive?
The tumultuousness started around 2016 when a number of Dutch newspapers started looking into the subject. They made an assessment of the amount of study programs that were offered in English and found that that was quite a lot: 60 percent of all university studies in the Netherlands were offered in English. When it comes to Master’s degrees, that number is even higher: not even 30 percent of all Master’s degrees are offered in Dutch. Offering studies in English is in line with the language in use at most academic journals and the most competitive universities worldwide. So from the perspective of academic quality, it is a wise move to offer studies in English.

For students who have their pointers set on an international career, studying in English can be a great way to improve one’s English and to prove their English proficiency to a future employer. Besides, getting educated in an international environment is a great way to get to know more about other countries and cultures. Experiencing student life with fellow students from all over the world is an excellent way to learn how to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds, which is also a great skill to have for people aspiring international careers. So for a lot of Dutch students, this change is definitely a good thing.

Dutch language
However, there is a group of Dutch students who aren’t happy with the Englishizing of Dutch higher education. Their criticism isn’t that the growth of programs offered in English should stop, it is to the fact that some programs aren’t even offered in Dutch anymore. That’s especially bad for students who aren’t good at English or who do not have the intention to work abroad. To not be able to study what you want to study in your home country in your home language has to be quite frustrating. Especially if the alternative is studying in a language in which you can’t express yourself as well as you normally would, which can take a toll on your grades.

According to some media, Dutch universities are offering more and more studies in English, because offering studies in English attracts international students from whom Dutch universities get a lot more money than they do from Dutch students. And then there are the language purists, who are already criticizing the current state of students’ Dutch language skills and therefore don’t think it’s a good idea to switch to English. Some of these people have been criticizing the use of more and more English in their day-to-day Dutch speaking and are afraid the Dutch language might even go extinct if the Englishizing continues. Extinction might be a bit dramatic, but the Englishizing of the Dutch language will definitely not improve the average person’s Dutch.

Own experience
An often heard critique is that teaching in English is also not necessarily in students’ best interest due to the fact that not all teachers are best suited to teach in English. A lot of professors’ English skills could use some polishing: I can vouch for that from personal experience. Not only can understanding these teachers be hard, sometimes the lack of English proficiency can be distracting or even irritating to students. One of my teachers would use the word ‘like’ for like three like times in like one sentence, for instance. So obviously, teachers with a severe lack in English skills are not in any student’s best interest. The fast growth of studies offered in English, should at least come with a lot of language training for professors.

Measures
Some have asked for a temporary stop of the Englishizing of higher education. The government wants to leave it up to the universities, but different organizations concerned with the quality of higher education have expressed their doubts about that. The new Dutch government has expressed to want to keep an eye on a number of things concerning Englishizing of higher education. According to them it needs to have extra value for a study program to be offered in English, the quality of the English program needs to be guaranteed and the current number of studies offered in Dutch can’t go down too much. What do you think? Do critics of the Englishizing of Dutch higher education have a point or should there be more studies in English, even if it’s at the cost of Dutch offered programs? And do you have any personal stories about teachers with horrible English skills?

Cover: OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay / Final editor: Charlotte Rombach

266 Total Views 1 Views Today

Reacties

reacties

Related Posts

Is Having a Restricted Press Really Such a Bad Thing?

22/04/2019

22/04/2019

Having a government-controlled press, singapore has been ranked 150th out of 180 countries on the World Freedom Press Index. But is this controlled press really a bad thing in a time were fake news thrives?

Backstage bij Dotcomspot: Raf

19/04/2019

19/04/2019

In deze editie van backstage sprak Medium met Raf die stage loopt bij Dotcomsport.

Medium Podcast #5 – It’s getting hot in here: how to survive Climate Change

18/04/2019

18/04/2019

Medium's brand new podcast on climate change and how to survive it, go listen!

Added social value and the active audience

18/04/2019

18/04/2019

The media we know today isn't the way it has always been. In the three 'ages' that media has gone through, an awful lot has changed.

Trials by Media: The Case of Madeleine McCann

17/04/2019

17/04/2019

How the missing case of Madeleine McCann, rocked the world and made us reconsider the role of the media, mediatisation and framing in modern news cycles.

GDPR: (Finally) A Legislation For The Digital World

16/04/2019

16/04/2019

Medium editor Eva Oravcova joined the 'The Two Faces of Facebook' debate on the 11th of April. On the basis of this debate, hosted by ASIF Ventures, Eva dives into the GDPR and explains us everything we need to know.

De snelle dood van Google’s kunstmatige intelligentie raad

14/04/2019

14/04/2019

Naar aanleiding van een enorme groei in kunstmatige intelligentie, heeft Google het ATEAC opgericht. Deze kunstmatige intelligentie raad kreeg echter veel interne kritiek en werd na slechts een week alweer opgedoekt. Medium zocht uit waarom.

Students of Amsterdam: Aakansha

10/04/2019

10/04/2019

Back again with another Students of Amsterdam feature, Medium chats with communication science student, Aakansha, about life and study in Amsterdam.

Media Regulation in the United States

09/04/2019

09/04/2019

Media industries in the United States facing regulations because they are very powerful. Medium dived into this interesting phenomena.

The European Elections: Basic Guide to What, Why and How

08/04/2019

08/04/2019

Having troubles with the when and how about the European elections? No stress, Medium helps you out!

Yellow Vests, The Symbol of a Rising Working Class

05/04/2019

05/04/2019

Headlining the newspapers for the past months, the Yellow Vests have proven not only to be of practical use, but to serve as a symbol of a rising working class as well.

What the Hell is Communication Science?

04/04/2019

04/04/2019

A frustrated meditation on what it means to study communication science at the University of Amsterdam, courtesy of Hahae, a second year student.

Communication Science meets Heritage Studies

03/04/2019

03/04/2019

Can history be studied merely objectively or also subjectively? Communication science and heritages studies students discuss the importance of an interdisciplinary approach.

Sport en social media: Een gouden combinatie?

03/04/2019

03/04/2019

Iedere sportorganisatie gebruikt tegenwoordig fanatiek social media om in contact te blijven met de fans. Daarnaast kan dit ook erg lucratief zijn.

Students of Amsterdam: Terézia

02/04/2019

02/04/2019

Let us introduce Terézia. Originally from Slovakia, Terézia has moved to Amsterdam to study psychology, bringing a piece of home with her in the form of folk dancing.

EnjoyInstagram