For many years, the importance of English has increased because it has became a very common language all over the world. Owing to this situation, there are lots of argumentative topics which are about the power of English. One of them is about the medium of instruction at Turkish universities whether it should be English or not. First of all, the definition of the English as a medium of instruction can be made. Haagen – Schützenhöfer & Mathelitsch (n.d.) explain that, “English as a Medium of Instruction is a … bilingual teaching – method. The main idea of EMI is to combine the conventional instruction of content – area subjects with … a foreign language is used as a ‘tool’ for communication in different subjects” (p.1). In addition to this explanation, this type of education at Turkish universities can be very beneficial for students. Therefore, the medium of instruction should be English at universities in Turkey.
Opponents of this argument claim that the English as a medium of education is not beneficial for students in some cases. They argue that this type of education causes two main problems which are misunderstanding problems and economical problems. Firstly, in Turkey, there is a common belief that if the educational language is English at universities, it can lead to not understanding of the courses very well due to the departmental technical jargons. For example, in engineering department, because of the English educational language, student may have some difficulties in their technical courses. However, this view is highly debatable. In the beginning of the university education, there is an English proficiency exam which tests the students’ level of English for being appropriate to the departmental technical courses. After this exam, for students who fail this exam, there is a preparatory year and the aim of this year is to prepare students their courses and to increase their level of English. Secondly, the opponents claim that, in English medium of universities, the fee of instruction can be a problem for poor students because it is higher than the other universities’. However this idea is open to debate. For poor students, there are lots of scholarship opportunities. Governments, universities and some big companies are ready to give some scholarship to poor students for rescuing them from their economical problems. Therefore, the high fee of instruction is not a problem for poor students.
English medium universities provide some advantages to students in some areas. Firstly, they are very useful for students in the most important field which is education. When the medium of education is English at universities, students have an ability to search in foreign sources. Therefore, their search area will expand and they can use the foreign sources in their researches. According to Economy Department of Istanbul University (n.d.), the English medium of instruction has lots of benefits for students. For example, in the English medium of instruction students get the chance to access and use the worldwide resources. Furthermore, this educational style makes it possible to enhance reading and comprehension skills and writing in English (p.1). Moreover, this educational style gives to students a chance to be educated in other countries. For example, many universities have Erasmus program which is the student exchange program between different countries’ universities. To apply this program the most important thing is knowing English. Due to the English medium universities, students already know English. Hence they have an opportunity to apply this program and to be educated in different countries. Secondly, English medium of instruction also provides some economical advantages to students. Thanks to the English medium of education, students do not have to spend any money to learn English. For instance, according to TOMER (n.d.) which is a famous and qualified foreign language course, the cost of the specific purpose foreign language courses is 576.00 TL. In addition to this, in this language course, there are speaking classes and their cost is also 350.00 TL (p.1). If the medium of instruction is English, students do not have to pay these high costs for learning English. Therefore, it gives an economical advantage to them. Furthermore, this educational style is useful for students when they find and apply a job. In Turkey, knowing English is very important quality for applying any job. Most companies want from their applicants to know English very well. If the medium of education is English, this increases the chance of finding a good job.
Not only in educational and economical field, but also in social and business life, the English medium of education at universities is useful for students. Firstly, in social life, it gives to students some advantages. For instance, students may gain a chance to live abroad because when they graduate from English medium of universities, their level of English will become high. Therefore, they will not any language problems when they live abroad. Furthermore, it is also beneficial in social relationships. If students know English, they have an opportunity to communicate and have friendship relation with foreign people or students. Hence, their social environment can expand. For example, at METU there are many foreign students and Turkish METU students have a chance to have foreign friends and communicate with foreign people. Secondly, this educational style has some advantages in business life. For instance, to work for international companies, English is very important because it is the common language in the world. If the graduates know their subjects in English very well, they automatically have a chance to work in these companies. Therefore, being a graduate from English medium of universities is a very significant advantage for students. Moreover, it gives to students an opportunity to have business life in foreign countries. For instance, lots of METU graduates maintain their business life in foreign countries. Being a graduate from METU whose educational language is English gives them to this chance.
All in all, in Turkey, if the educational language is English at universities, students gain lots of benefits from it. These are about their education, economy, social, and business life. When these benefits are thought and examined carefully, the importance of English for students can be obviously seen. Because English is the today’s global language and it gives lots of advantages to students, the medium of instruction should be English at universities.
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Bölümler: İngilizce İktisat: Tanıtım. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.istanbul.edu.tr/iktisat/bolumler.php Course fees. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.tomer.ankara.edu.tr/english/index.html# Haagen-Schützenhöfer, C. & Mathelitsch, L. (n.d.). English as a medium of instruction in science-teaching. Retrieved from http://www.fisica.uniud.it/girepseminar2001/CS06/HAAGEN_03_FINAL.pdf