Pauline Rea-Dickins and Yasmine El Masri speaking at the Oxford University EMI Symposium

Monday, July 3rd, 2017


Roger Smith, Dr Yasmine El Masri and Professor Pauline Rea-Dickens presented the work of the Aga Khan Language Policy Thinking Group at the EMI Symposium at the Education Department in Oxford on 22nd June. The talk, entitledAddressing the EMI challenge: the case of the Aga Khan University’, outlined the rationale behind the research project and presented some preliminary findings of the empirical research carried out across AKU campuses in Pakistan, Tanzania and London. Proficiency English language tests and perception surveys were administered to samples of students, faculty and staff at the university to gauge stakeholders’ language proficiency levels and needs, as well as their use of English and other languages in the context of their studies and training at AKU. More information is provided in the abstract below:


Professor Pauline Rea-Dickins



Addressing the EMI challenge: the case of the Aga Khan University

Dr Roger Smith, Director, Network of English Language Enhancement, Aga Khan University, Pakistan, Dr Yasmine El Masri, Professor Pauline Rea-Dickins, Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment, UK

The Aga Khan University is an international university with campuses in four countries across three continents. English has been adopted as the official language and is used at the Aga Khan University (AKU) for teaching, learning and assessment purposes, and for official matters such as recruitment, admissions and formal meetings. This practice is consistent with the sharp increase in the use of English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) in higher education globally. However, the EMI phenomenon raises a number of key issues, especially in multilingual contexts, that are of increasing concern to institutions across the globe.  At AKU, in particular, there are tensions that arise between the use of EMI and AKU’s strong commitment to widening access, ensuring the relevance of its programmes, social responsibility, supporting those most in need, and providing high quality university provision. To consider the issues and challenges of being an English medium institution, in October 2016, AKU established a Language Policy Thinking Group. This talk will focus on the work the Thinking Group has carried out to date, and present some of the initial findings from an extensive literature review, language surveys and English language tests studies.

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