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Kim, Jeongyeon
Applied Linguistics
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English-medium instruction (EMI) policies of Korean engineering schools: what has been and what should be

Kim, Eun GyungKim, JeongyeonKweon, Soo-Ok
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Sociolinguistics Symposium 22
English is considered one of the most desired goods as English-speaking countries, especially the United States, have had a dominant role in international economy and politics (Phillipson, 1992). States with wishes to participate in the knowledge economy tend to consider English, the most widely spoken global language, having an enormous economic value (Ricento, 2015). The phenomenon of globalization has facilitated linguistic assimilation, and mediums of instruction in schools have been influenced by the phenomenon (Tsui & Tollefson, 2010). In the mid-2000's, with financial incentives from their government, Korean universities began to adopt EMI policies actively. The expansion of EMI was further accelerated by Korean newspapers’ university rankings, which measured the percent of EMI classes as a part of their evaluation. Korean engineering schools have been at the forefront of the EMI expansion. This study investigates the EMI policies of Korean engineering schools. Korea's most-regarded engineering schools – KAIST, POSTECH, and UNIST – with extensive EMI implementation were chosen for the study. Their EMI policies were examined through document analysis. The schools’ documents, Internet sources, and journal and newspaper articles in relation to EMI were collected and analyzed through the Grounded Theory method. For triangulation, interviews with school administrators were conducted. Study results show that the three schools have taken widely different approaches to EMI policies although their goals for the adoption of EMI were similar. Specifically, relationships between an EMI policy and the goal of cultivating global competitiveness were differently postulated according to their different academic contexts. UNIST has taken the most stringent approach, mandating all the courses to be taught in English, while KAIST aggressively expanded EMI at the undergraduate level but has eased its EMI requirements after the tragic incidents where several undergraduate students committed suicide in 2011, and POSTECH has focused on the expansion of EMI courses at the graduate level. In addition, the study examines EMI policies of engineering schools in Europe and other countries. It concludes by making recommendations for the directions that engineering schools in EFL environments should take in their adoption/implementation of future EMI policies.
Sociolinguistics Symposium


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