Understanding University Teachers’ Perspectives of English Medium Instruction in Indonesia

Keywords: EMI, Medium of Instruction, Internationalisation, Englishisation, Lecturers' Perspectives


Despite the massive growth of universities offering EMI in non-Anglophone countries including Indonesia, there is little research regarding the underlying rationales for the implementation of EMI and the perceptions of lecturers in relation to the enactment of EMI. Several studies have also highlighted the absence of official guidelines for EMI in this context, which has contributed to the dissimilar practices of EMI among Indonesian universities. This case study aimed to find out the underpinning rationales for the implementation of EMI at the Indonesian universities. It also aimed to investigate how lecturers at the Indonesian universities perceived the implementation of EMI. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine non-English lecturers from both state and private Indonesian universities. The results of this study showed that some factors, including promoting university internationalisation, enhancing academic reputations, and taking part in international competitions, were found to underpin the implementation of EMI. In addition, this study also underlined the issue of internationalisation in relation to Englishisation and its impacts on EMI. In this study, the participants' use of the Indonesian language intended to facilitate communication and understanding of content learning could also be seen as a way to value multilingual practices. Therefore, this study suggests that the Indonesian linguistic ecology where Bahasa Indonesia and English co-exist with the hundreds of local languages should be taken into consideration in the educational language policy-making.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Wulandari Santoso , Universitas Bunda Mulia, Jakarta, Indonesia

Wulandari Santoso is a faculty member of the English Language Department, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universitas Bunda Mulia, Jakarta. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English Language Education from Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana, Salatiga in 2015 and completed her Master’s programme in TESOL from the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom in 2017. She is currently a doctoral candidate in English Language Education at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Bandung. Her research interests include Translanguaging Pedagogy, English Medium Instruction, English as an International Language, and Critical Pedagogy. She is now also a member of the editorial board of Journal of English, Language, and Culture.

Putri Rindu Kinasih , Universitas Bunda Mulia, Jakarta, Indonesia

Putri Rindu Kinasih is a lecturer at the English department of Universitas Bunda Mulia. Her research focus is related to literature, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, and discourse analysis. She can be contacted at pkinasih@bundamulia.ac.id


AEC Council Minister Indonesia. (2020). Strategi Indonesia hadapi MEA. Www.Meaindonesia.Ekon.Go.Id. https://meaindonesia.ekon.go.id/strategi-indonesia-hadapi-mea/

Airey, J. (2016). CLIL and EAP (Content and Language Integrated Learning and English for Academic Purposes). In K. Hyland & P. Shaw (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of English for Academic Purposes (pp. 71–83).

ASEAN. (2015). ASEAN economic community. http://www.asean.org/communities/asean-economic-community

Barnard, R. (2014). English medium instruction in Asian universities: Some concerns and a suggested approach to dual-medium instruction. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(1), 10–22.

Barnawi, O. Z. (2018). Neoliberalism and English language education policies in the Arabian gulf. NY: Routledge.

Barnawi, O. Z. (2021). EMI as a performative technology of acceleration in higher education contexts: academics and administrators’ perspectives. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 1–14.

BBC News. (2018, October 2). Indonesia country profile. Www.Bbc.Com. http://www.bbc.com/

Bienzobas, A. D., Herrarte, D. L., & Vázquez, V. P. (2019). The integration of language and content in English-medium instruction courses: Lecturers’ beliefs and practices. Iberica, 38, 151–175.

Bowles, H., & Murphy, A. C. (2022). EMI and the Internationalization of universities: An overview. In H. Bowles & A. C. Murphy (Eds.), English-medium instruction and the internationalization of universities (pp. 1–26). Palgrave Macmillan.

Bozdoğan, D., & Karlıdağ, B. (2013). A case of CLIL practice in the Turkish context: Lending an ear to students. Asian EFL Journal, 15(4), 89–110.

British Council. (2013). British Council regional policy dialogue 2: The role of English in higher education: Issues, policy and practice. https://www.britishcouncil.org.br/sites/default/files/regionalpolicydialogue_emi.pdf.

Bulan, D. R. (2019). Bahasa Indonesia sebagai identitas nasional bangsa Indonesia. Jurnal Ilmu Sosial Dan Ilmu Politik (JISIPOL), 3(2), 23–29.

Cahyani, H., de Courcy, M., & Barnett, J. (2018). Teachers’ code-switching in bilingual classrooms: Exploring pedagogical and sociocultural functions. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 21(4), 465–479.

Chalmers, H. (2019). The role of the first language in English medium instruction. OUP ELT Position. https://elt.oup.com/feature/global/expert/?cc=id&selLanguage=id

Chapple, J. (2015). Teaching in English is not necessarily the teaching of English. International Education Studies, 8(3), 13–34.

Costa, F., & Mariotti, C. (2022). EMI students’ “international coexistence” at one Italian university. In H. Bowles & A. C. Murphy (Eds.), English-Medium Instruction and the Internationalization of Universities (pp. 229–258). Palgrave Macmilla.

Coyle, D., Hood, P., & Marsh, D. (2010). CLIL: content and language integrated learning. Cambridge University Press.

de Costa, P. I., Green-Eneix, C., & Li, W. (2020). Problematizing EMI language policy in a transnational world. English Today, 1–8.

de Wit, H., Hunter, F., Howard, L., & Egron-Polak, E. (2015). Internationalisation of Higher Education. Directorate-General for Internal Policies, European Parliament. Www.Europarl.Europa.Eu. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/studies.

Dearden, J. (2014). English as a medium of instruction – a growing global phenomenon: Phase 1. Https://Www.Britishcouncil.Es/.

Dearden, J., & Macaro, E. (2021). Higher education teachers’ attitudes towards English medium instruction: a three-country comparison. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 32(3), 455–486.

Despitasari, N. W. P. (2021). Students’ Perception of English Medium of Instruction (EMI) in Indonesia: A Case Study in a Business Communication Course in a Private Higher Education Institution (HEI). Journal of Arts & Humanities, 10(4), 28–38.

Dewi, A. (2017). English as a medium of instruction in Indonesian higher education: A study of lecturers’ perceptions. In B. Fenton-Smith, P. Humphreys, & I. Walkinshaw (Eds.), English medium instruction in higher education in Asia-Pacific (pp. 241–258). Springer Cham.

Galloway, N., Kriukow, J., & Numajiri, T. (2017). Internationalisation. higher education and the growing demand for English: an investigation into the English medium of instruction (EMI) movement in China and Japan. . The British Council. ttps://englishagenda.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/attachments/h035_eltra_internationalisation_he_and_the_growing_demand_for_english_a4_final_web.pdf

Galloway, N., & Mckinley, J. (2019). Englishization of higher education. In H. Mohebbi & C. Coombe (Eds.), Research questions in language education and applied linguistics (pp. 705–709). Springer.

Galloway, N., & Rose, H. (2021). English medium instruction and the English language practitioner. ELT Journal, 75(3), 33–41.

Gray, D. E. (2014). Doing research in the real world. Sage.

Haines, K., Meima, E., & Gustafsson, H. S. (2022). Language usage and learning communities in the informal curriculum: The student as protagonist in EMI? . In H. Bowles & A. C. Murphy (Eds.), English-medium instruction and the internationalization of universities (pp. 181–203). Palgrave Macmillan.

Hamid, M. O., Nguyen, H. T. M., & Baldauf Jr., R. B. (2013). Medium of instruction in Asia: context, processes and outcomes. Current Issues in Language Planning, 14(1), 1–15.

Hamied, F. A. (2012). English in multicultural and multilingual Indonesian education. (A. Kirkpatrick & R. D. Sussex, Eds.; pp. 63–78). Springer.

Hamied, F. A., & Lengkanawati, N. S. (2018). Case study: EMI in Indonesia. In R. Barnard & Z. Hasim (Eds.), English medium instruction Programmes: Perspectives from South East Asian universities (pp. 55–69). Routledge.

Hasim, Z., & Barnard, R. C. (2018). Case study: EMI in a public university in Malaysia. In R. Barnard & Z. Hasim (Eds.), English medium instruction programmes: Perspectives from South East Asian universities (pp. 29–40). Routledge.

Hua, T. L. (2019). Understanding the learning challenges of English-medium instruction learners and ways to facilitate their learning: A case study of Taiwan Psychology students’ perspectives. Latin American Journal of Content and Language Integrated Learning, 12(2), 321–340.

Ibrahim, J. (2001). The Implementation of EMI (English Medium Instruction) in Indonesian Universities: Its opportunities, its threats, its problems, and its possible solutions. 49th International TEFLIN Conference , 121–137.

Jiang, A. L., Zhang, L. J., & May, S. (2019). Implementing English medium instruction (EMI) in China: teachers’ practices and perceptions, and students’ learning motivation and needs. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 22(2), 107–119.

Khan, H. I. (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 [Doctoral dissertation, University of Glasgow]. https://theses.gla.ac.uk/4451/

Khasbani, I. (2019). English as a Medium of Instruction in Indonesian primary and secondary education: Theory and reality. Englisia, 6(2), 146–161.

Kim, E. G. (2017). English-medium instruction in Korean higher education: Challenges and future directions. In B. Fenton-Smith, P. Humphreys, & I. Walkinshaw (Eds.), English medium instruction in higher education in Asia-Pacific: From policy to pedagogy (Vol. 21, pp. 54–72). Springer.

Kirkpatrick, A. (2006). Which model of English: Native-speaker, nativized or lingua franca? In R. Rubdy & M. Saraceni (Eds.), English in the world: global rules, global roles (pp. 71–83). Continuum.

Kirkpatrick, A. (2011). English as a medium of instruction in Asian education (from primary to tertiary): Implications for local languages and local scholarship. Applied Linguistics Review, 2, 99–120.

Kirkpatrick, A. (2014). The language(s) of HE: EMI and/or ELF and/or multilingualism? The Asian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(1), 4–15.

Kirkpatrick, A. (2019). The rise of EMI: Challenges for Asia. Language Teaching, 52(2), 237–240.

Knagg, J. (2013, November 18). EMI within a Global Context – Towards a British Council Perspective. Dialogue 2: The Role of English in Higher Education: Issues, Policy and Practice . Https://Www.Britishcouncil.Org.Br/. britishcouncil.org.br/sites/default/files/regionalpolicydialogue_emi.pdf

Knight, J. (2004). Internationalization remodeled: Definition, approaches and rationales. Journal of Studies in International Education, 8(1), 5–31.

Knight, J. (2013). The changing landscape of higher education internationalisation – for better or worse? . Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 17(3), 84–90.

Korstjens, I., & Moser, A. (2018). Series: Practical guidance to qualitative research. Part 4: Trustworthiness and publishing. European Journal of General Practice, 24(1), 120–124.

Kuteeva, M. (2014). The parallel language use of Swedish and English: The question of ‘nativeness’ in university policies and practices. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 35(4), 332–344.

Lamb, M., Waskita, D., & Kuchah, K. (2021). The state of English as medium of instruction (EMI) in higher education institutions in Indonesia. British Council. https://www.britishcouncil.id/sites/default/files/the_state_of_english_as_medium_of_instruction_in_heis_in_indonesia_full_report_final.pdf

Lasagabaster, D. (2019). The impact of the spread of English-medium instruction on Spanish universities. . Language Teaching, 52(2), 241–248.

Lin, A. M. Y. (2016). Language across the curriculum & CLIL in English as an additional language (EAL) contexts: Theory and practice. Springer.

Macaro, E. (2013, November 18). Defining and Researching English Medium of Instruction: The Need for Clear Thinking and a Clear Research Agenda. Dialogue 2: The Role of English in Higher Education: Issues, Policy and Practice . Https://Www.Britishcouncil.Org.Br/. https://www.britishcouncil.org.br/sites/default/files/regionalpolicydialogue_emi.pdf

Macaro, E. (2018). English medium instruction : content and language in policy and practice. Oxford University Press.

Macaro, E. (2019). English medium instruction: Global views and countries in focus. Language Teaching, 52(2), 231–248.

Macaro, E. (2020). Exploring the role of language in English medium instruction. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 23(4), 263–276.

Macaro, E., Akıncıoğlu, M., & Dearden, J. (2016). English Medium Instruction in Universities: A Collaborative Experiment in Turkey. Studies in English Language Teaching, 4(1), 51–76.

Macaro, E., Curle, S., Pun, J., & An, J. (2018). A systematic review of English medium instruction in higher education. Language Teaching, 51(1), 36–76.

Macaro, E., & Han, S. (2020). English medium instruction in China’s higher education: teachers’ perspectives of competencies, certification and professional development. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 41(3), 219–231.

Marsudi, & Zahrok, S. (2015). Kesetiaan berbahasa Indonesoa dipertanyakan di era globalisasi. Jurnal Sosial Humaniora, 8(1), 95–105.

Mckinley, J., & Rose, H. (2022). English language teaching and English-medium instruction: Putting research into practice. Journal of English-Medium Instruction, 1(1), 85–104.

Murphy, A. C., & Mengistu, M. S. (2022). The challenges of internationalization in EMI tertiary education in Ethiopia. In H. Bowles & A. C. Murphy (Eds.), English-medium instruction and the internationalization of universities (pp. 77–101). Palgrave Macmillan.

Nguyen, T. P. D., & Nguyen, V. L. (2020). EMI in Vietnam: What high school teachers think and do. International Journal of Language Teaching and Education, 4(1), 36–52.

Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic Imperialism. Oxford University Press.

Phillipson, R. (2015). English as threat or opportunity in European higher education. In A. K. Hultgren, S. Dimova, & C. Jensen (Eds.), English medium instruction in European higher education (English in Europe 3) (pp. 19–42). De Gruyter Mouton.

Prayoga, R. A., & Khatimah, H. (2019). Pola pikir penggunaan Bahasa Inggris pada masyarakat perkotaan di JABODETABEK. SIMULACRA, 2(1), 39–52.

Rahman, M. M., Islam, M. S., Hasan, M. K., & Singh, M. K. M. (2021). English medium instruction: Beliefs and attitudes of university lecturers in Bangladesh and Malaysia. Issues in Educational Research, 31(4), 1213–1230.

Ridwan, M. (2018). National and official language: The long journey of Indonesian language. Budapest International Research and Critics Institute-Journal (BIRCI-Journal), 1(2), 72–78.

Robson, C., & McCartan, K. (2016). Real world research (4th ed.). Wiley.

Rogier, D. (2012). The effects of English-medium instruction on language proficiency of students enrolled in higher education in the UAE [Doctoral dissertation, University of Exeter]. https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/bitstream/handle/10036/4482/RogierD.pdf?sequence=2

Ross, D., & Coleman, H. (n.d.). English Medium Instruction and content and language integrated learning. Https://Www.Britishcouncil.Id/. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from https://www.britishcouncil.id/sites/default/files/parallel_session_2-_english_medium_instruction_and_language_integrated_learning.pdf

Saeed, M., Varghese, M., Holst, M., & Ghazali, K. (2018). Student perspectives of medium of instruction in Malaysia. In R. Barnard & Z. Hasim (Eds.), English medium instruction programmes: Perspectives from South East Asian universities (pp. 70–86). Routledge.

Simbolon, N. E. (2018). EMI in Indonesian higher education: Stakeholders’ perspectives. . TEFLIN Journal, 29(1), 108–128.

Simbolon, N. E. (2021). English Medium Instruction (EMI) practice: Higher education internationalization in Indonesia. Englisia: Journal of Language, Education, and Humanities, 8(2), 72–83.

Simbolon, N. E., Oliver, R., & Mercieca, P. (2020). Lecturers’ Perceptions of English Medium Instruction (EMI) Practice at a University in Indonesia. Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, 28(2), 1065–1081.

Tamtam, A., Gallagher, F., Sumsun, N., & Olabi, A.-G. (2010). EMI for engineering education in Arab world and twenty first century challenges. In International Symposium for Engineering Education.

Terry, G., Hayfield, N., Clarke, V., & Braun, V. (2017). Thematic analysis. In C. Willig & W. S. Rogers (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology (pp. 17–37). SAGE Publications Ltd.

The World Bank. (2022, April 5). The World Bank In Indonesia. Www.Worldbank.Org. https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/indonesia/overview

Urmeneta, C. E. (2013). Learning to become a CLIL teacher: Teaching, reflection and professional development. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism , 16(3), 344–353.

van der Walt, C. (2013). Multilingual higher education: Beyond English medium orientations. Multilingual Matters.

Walkinshaw, I., Fenton-Smith, B., & Humphreys, P. (2017). EMI issues and challenges in Asia-Pacific higher education: An introduction. In B. Fenton-Smith, P. Humphreys, & I. Walkinshaw (Eds.), English medium instruction in higher education in Asia-Pasific (pp. 1–18). Springer.

Worthman, C. (2022). In search of internationalization: Changing conceptions of EMI among Mexican university instructors. In H. Bowles & A. C. Murphy (Eds.), English medium instruction and the internationalization of universities (pp. 155–179). Palgrave Macmillan.

Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods.

Yuan, R. (2020). Promoting EMI teacher development in EFL higher education contexts: A teacher educator’s reflections. RELC Journal, 51(2), 309–317.

Yuan, R., Chen, Y., & Peng, J. (2020). Understanding university teachers’ beliefs and practice in using English as a medium of instruction. Teaching in Higher Education, 27(2), 233–248.

Zein, S. (2019). English, multilingualism and globalisation in Indonesia. English Today, 35(1), 48–653.

Zein, S. (2020). Language policy in superdiverse Indonesia. Routledge.

Zhang, Z. (2018). English-medium instruction policies in China: Internationalisation of higher education. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 39(6), 542–555.

How to Cite
Santoso , W., & Rindu Kinasih , P. (2022). Understanding University Teachers’ Perspectives of English Medium Instruction in Indonesia. Elsya : Journal of English Language Studies, 4(3), 197-213. https://doi.org/10.31849/elsya.v4i3.11031
Abstract viewed = 150 times
PDF downloaded = 141 times