Crossing the language barriers

So let’s say you’re from Indonesia and you’d like to study management through the medium of English. Where do you go? Britain? The United States? Maybe not. In fact, it’s not at all unlikely that you’ll choose to go to Germany, and that you’ll enjoy all the amenities of Kaffee und Kuchen without ever having to say the words. Germany is open for higher education business, in English. Or rather, in what they call ‘international English’, which apparently is English without a trace of a Yorkshire accent; or even an American one.

This is what we learn from a report by the BBC’s education correspondent, Sean Coughlan. Not only are German universities now offering English language programmes, they are even providing them to international students without charging them any tuition fees. How this model is financially viable could be a matter of discussion, but in the meantime it has moved Germany into top position in a league table, compiled by the British Council, of countries most friendly to overseas students – well ahead of the United Kingdom and the United States. For now the number of student places available under this model is still limited, but if this kind of provision is expanded it could have major implications.

German universities are still not in the top league of research institutions, and they will still find it difficult to match the attractions of the Ivy League and Oxbridge. But they may nevertheless develop a growing number of international students and graduates who will become ambassadors for them in their home countries. Just as English becomes more and more the dominant language globally of both trade and scholarship, its country (or countries) of origin may lose ground. The globalisation of higher education may yet involve many unexpected elements.

Explore posts in the same categories: higher education

Tags: , ,

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

6 Comments on “Crossing the language barriers”

  1. jfryar Says:

    Interesting article. I’d add that, in terms of research, postdocs are the ‘troops on the ground’.

    Most contract researchers are university staff members and are therefore subject to work permits and immigration laws. The UK, in particular, seems to have shot itself in the foot by imposing limits on the number of visas third-level institutions can apply for. Lottery systems are being introduced in universities, and visas and work permits are being distributed to more senior academics.

    There are huge numbers of people currently working in UK universities who, quite simply, will be forced to leave. If the Germans really want to enhance their research standing, they simply need to target postdocs. Should they play their cards right, I have no doubt that Germany will become a far more attractive proposition than any UK university. After all, Cambridge and Oxford might be great, but if they have no visas to issue …

  2. Al Says:

    I doubt if Germany is getting distracted by global rankings to the extent that they will speculate like we seem to be doing in order to move up the rankings.

    • jfryar Says:

      You’d imagine so, but no. Germany is obsessed with rankings like everyone else.

      If you go to the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) website and have a look you’ll see that you can get rankings for the universities by subject … and this is an organisation that awards grants and attempts to attract people to German shores!

  3. anna notaro Says:

    Germany might be into top position in a league table of countries most friendly to overseas students – still has reported in this week’s Times Higher the student to staff ratio of 60:1 in German universities is deemed ‘no longer tenable’, certainly not an attractive prospect to overseas students..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: