Multilingual language policy: Is it becoming a misnomer at university level?

Book Title
English-Medium Instruction in European Higher Education
Slobodanka Dimova, Anna Kristina Hultgren and Christian Jensen
115 - 134
Mouton de Gruyter

Globalisation-related forces are preventing university authorities from implementing any language policy that does not regard English as its axis, and by doing so offering little more than a watered down version of the adjective multilingual. It is a highly topical issue in the case of higher education institutions in which English has to coexist with official bilingualism. The University of the Basque Country is a very good case in point, as it is a bilingual institution in Basque and Spanish that since 2005 has promoted foreign language-medium teaching. However, English reigns supreme and the vast majority of courses are delivered in this language. The participants in this study were 153 teaching staff and administration personnel who completed an open-ended item questionnaire. The aim was to find out exactly what they felt about the effects of the UBC’s multilingual language policy. The results indicate that most comments were positive and the respondents did not seem to be troubled about the impact of the hegemony of English on the implementation of multilingual schemes, as confirmed by the almost total absence of references to languages other than English.