English-medium instruction (EMI) in Korean higher education: its current state and future prospects

This paper examines the past, present, and future of EMI in Korean higher education. Wesche and Skehan (2002) argue that EMI in higher education is highly effective in facilitating one's acquisition of English fluency by allowing his/her use of English to acquire subject knowledge. The study analyzes an extensive volume of literature that covers the globalization of Korean society, the Korean government's English language educational policies, the internationalization of Korean universities, and EMI practices in Korean universities. The paper discusses how EMI was introduced to Korean universities, what their problems are in relation to EMI, and what the future might hold for EMI in Korean universities. The Korean government began providing financial support for the universities that offered EMI in 2004, and the most influential domestic newspaper that publishes university rankings began including percentage of EMI classes in its evaluation index of internationalization in 2006. As a result, the number of EMI classes in Korean universities has drastically increased. In 2006, it was 2.2%, of the university courses, and by 2010 the number reached 20-40% among the universities in the Seoul metropolitan area. In implementing their EMI policy, universities took an autocratic approach without consulting their faculty members and students or considering their English capabilities. Thus, the main problem with EMI classes at Korean universities has been the hindering of students' knowledge acquisition caused by their insufficient English ability to function in EMI classes. Other problems include inadequate EMI methods, the lack of a support system, and the lack of empirical data to support EMI in Korean higher education. Despite negativity, EMI in Korean universities is likely to be maintained for reasons such as the continuous globalization and internationalization of Korean universities and the shrinking population of domestic college students. This paper suggests possible solutions for the current EMI problems.
Publisher
AAAL (The American Association for Applied Linguistics)
Issue Date
2016-04-10
Language
English
Citation

AAAL 2016 Annual Conference, pp.65

URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/208556
Appears in Collection
HSS-Conference Papers(학술회의논문)
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