Linguistic battle sparks revolt against globalisation

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University World News

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A recent decision from the Italian Constitutional Court affirms the primacy of the Italian language in the nation’s education institutions. Though grounded in Italian law, the ruling and its surrounding facts offer useful insights to universities across the globe as they ride the wave of English in the name of internationalisation.

The controversy goes back to 2012 when the faculty senate of the prestigious Polytechnic Institute of Milan, by a vote of 28 to one, approved a plan to offer all graduate programmes solely in English within two years. For the university the move was essential to enhance its reputation, attract foreign students and faculty and prepare young Italians for the global job market.

A group of 100 faculty members thought otherwise and mounted a legal challenge to the plan’s sweeping scope.