An investigation of two universities’ postgraduate students and their teachers’ perceptions of policy and practice of English Medium of Instruction (EMI) in Pakistani universities

Khan, Humaira Irfan (2013) An investigation of two universities’ postgraduate students and their teachers’ perceptions of policy and practice of English Medium of Instruction (EMI) in Pakistani universities. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In this thesis, I examine the perceptions of university staff and postgraduate students to explore the relation between policy and practice of English as the Medium of In-struction (EMI) in Pakistani universities. The theoretical framework of the study comprises literature on language in education policy, language in education goals, the status of English and World English. Findings from qualitative and quantitative data collected from students and staff in two public universities are compared to identify the perceptions of issues concerning EMI for postgraduate study. The findings indi-cate that although EMI is accepted as compulsory in Pakistani universities for post-graduate study, it is not fully implemented. The evidence supports the view that multi-lingualism, cultural diversity and ethnicity present challenges to the country’s national integration and the formulation and implementation of an effective language policy. The perceptions support the view that in Pakistan, English is required for socio-economic development and higher education and symbolises liberal values. However, the views signifying pride in local culture and national language highlight a potential conflict between modernity and tradition. The findings show a number of practices that indicate a pragmatic approach to implementation of the English medium policy. It appears that not only do postgraduate students express their preference for using Urdu in classroom but highly qualified university teachers’ views, under the plea of covering up their own deficiencies in English, show an inclination towards using Urdu in the classroom to accommodate students from diverse educational backgrounds. University faculty consult and provide reading material in English but postgraduate students find language and content of curriculum challenging because of their need for English language and lack of familiarity with foreign culture and philosophical ideology. Postgraduate students experience academic challenges arising from EMI which are demonstrated by their hesitation to speak English in classroom, difficulties of understanding teachers’ lectures, confusion of interpreting reading texts and stress of academic writing. The university teachers claim that their postgraduate students use memorisation as a strategy to get through the examinations rather than working ar-dently towards the development of academic skills. The responses suggest that solu-tions may lie in the area of reducing the anxiety that postgraduate students experience as a consequence of their language learning difficulties. The participants express their preference for using Pakistani English (PakE) in the study context. Motivation might act as an effective strategy to assist students to overcome their language problems. These views suggest that universities can enhance the communication skills of postgraduate students through the inclusion of English language proficiency courses in their curricula to support language development and possibly avoid foreign language anxiety. The professional development programmes should train University staff with strategies for teaching postgraduate students using EMI. It would seem advisable that the University can encourage the use of PakE by giving it recognition as an acceptable variety of English in the University context.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Baumfield, Professor Vivienne and Daborn, Dr. Esther
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Mrs Humaira Irfan Khan
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4451
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2013 09:43
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2013 12:57

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