Our Language and Our Culture or Yours? Issues for the Sustainability of Transnational Higher Education in Asia

Dr Peter Shanahan,
Ms Glenda Kupczyk-Romanczuk
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According to their web-sites, Australian universities, both those already established in, and those currently seeking to enter the vast Asian market in higher education, seem to follow one of three possible approaches to the language of instruction for th eir degree programs:

- translation of English materials to the language of the host country and the use of translators in the classroom

- a bilingual program, comprising English only materials and translators in classes

- English only.

These approaches make little acknowledgement of the close bonds between language and culture or of the very different cultural value systems that may be operating in the various target countries. Furthermore, they imply adoption of a transmission m od el for the teaching - learning process in the target countries.

This paper explores the challenges implicit in such approaches in terms of the sustainability of transnational programs, both for the Australian providers and for the host countries. Can Australian universities deliver courses which "meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs"(Brundtland, 1987, p8) ? Are we focusing on the financial imperatives of the present to obtain new students and not paying sufficient attention to longer term mutual respect and understanding and the valuing of diversity?

Keywords: Transnational, Higher, Education, Language, Culture, Sustainability
Stream: Cultural Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Our Language and Our Culture or Yours?

Dr Peter Shanahan

Academic Coordinator, Faculty of Education, Health and Professional Studiesli, University of New England

Peter is the Academic Coordinator in the Faculty of Education, Health and Professional Studies. His responsibilities include negotiating, developing and monitoring offshore courses. This role has been ongoing since 1995, and has included experience in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Fiji, Tonga, Vietnam, California and Bhutan. Peter also has a key role in the development, extension and termination of contractual Agreements with partner institutions involved in offshore activities.

Ms Glenda Kupczyk-Romanczuk

Senior Lecturer, School of Education, University of New England

Glenda has extensive experience in teaching international students. Her research interests include dictionaries which address social justice and environmental issues; dictionaries in plain English for students using English as the language of instruction; English as a foreign or second language; and cross-cultural communication.n

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