Elite French business schools, and Grandes Ecoles such as the Institute of Political Studies also known as Sciences-Po, have been teaching in English for the last 15 years. Why, she asks, shouldn't other less prestigious universities follow suit?The crux of the counterargument goes like this: if part of the attraction of studying in France is learning French, why dilute this by offering second-rate English-language instruction? Another is the ever-popular idea that speaking French lends the speaker a different worldview from that of English speakers, making (surprise!) French education incommensurate with English education:
Teaching English is very different, they argue, from teaching in English. They support the teaching of foreign languages, and suggest starting it even earlier - in nursery schools - but they oppose the teaching of subjects such as mathematics, history and literature in any language but French.
Antoine Compagnon, a distinguished French scholar who taught at Columbia University and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, maintained in a public letter that it would be better to teach foreign students French than tolerate "Globish" (the primitive English of non-English-speakers) and the dumbing down of teaching that would inevitably follow.Foreign students who choose France over Britain, Compagnon says, are not only choosing the French lifestyle but also its culture and language. Teaching them Proust in English, in France, would be a travesty.
French MP Pouria Amirshahi, who represents French expats in North and West Africa, backed him up. "The signal given out to those everywhere who learn French abroad and in francophone countries throughout the world is not reassuring," told The Daily Telegraph.I believe that some market research is truly in order to enlighten this debate:
It looks as though, in France, if you want to teach students in English, you have to do it quietly like the elite universities which never asked permission but never boasted about it either.
- Do international students come to France purposely to study in French?
- How many more international students can France realistically hope to attract if it had more course offerings at the university level in English?