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Campus in English or campus in shock?

Korean students hit hard by English-medium lectures

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 May 2012

Extract

With the acceleration of globalization, universities in East Asia are increasingly under pressure to compete internationally, and ‘internationalization’ of tertiary education in the region has topped the education reform agenda of each government (Mok & James, 2005). In an effort to join the league of world-class universities and attract international students, East Asian universities have expanded the number of English-medium lectures (EMLs) offered as part of their internationalization strategy, and no country has embraced the move more than Korea (Newsweek, February 26, 2007). As of 2010, all the classes at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) are conducted in English only and 93 percent of classes at the Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), the nation's two best science and engineering universities, with rates of EML averaging around 10 to 30 percent among the top 7 universities in Korea as of the first half of 2008 (Chosun Ilbo, March 10, 2008). Reforms of Korean universities characterized by the introduction of EMLs have been praised by many local as well as top international media such as the New York Times and the Science Magazine. Often lost amid the hype, however, are the challenges facing local students in learning complex material in English, a language which most have learned only as a foreign language and to limited levels of proficiency. This article compares opinions expressed in the mainstream media with those from university presses run by student organizations that have been most active in expanding English-medium programs by analyzing articles related to EMLs. The aim of this comparative research is to find out if there are any observable differences in views presented by these two types of print media, in an attempt to shed light on the move to EMLs in this exclusively monolingual country.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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