Medium of instruction

Medium of instruction

Medium of instruction is a language used in teaching. It may or may not be the official language of the country or territory. Where the first language of students is different from the official language, it may be used as the medium of instruction for part or all of schooling. Bilingual or multilingual education may involve the use of more than one language of instruction. UNESCO considers that "providing education in a child's mother tongue is indeed a critical issue".[1]


Media of instruction in different countries and regions

  • In Australia, most schools use English. However in the State of Victoria (known for its many Greek and Italian settlers) there are a number of schools that teach in Greek and Italian. A number of schools also teach in French, Irish, Chinese, Arabic and Japanese.
  • In Azerbaijan, Azeri is the main language of instruction. Instruction in Russian and to a lesser extent in English at both secondary and post-secondary level is also offered in some educational institutions. Georgian is the language of instruction in secondary schools in the Georgian-populated northern regions. Education was conducted in Armenian in some secondary schools until the Nagorno-Karabakh War.
  • In Belarus, Russian is the main language of instruction. While Belarusian language schools comprise 53%, they are located mostly in rural areas and the share of students who receive instruction in Belarusian is as low as 18%.[2]
  • In Belgium, Dutch and French (and German in some parts of Eastern Belgium) are used.
  • In Brazil, every public school uses Brazilian Portuguese as the medium of instruction, but no law prohibits the use of other languages in private schools. Many schools use other European languages (mainly because of the country's European heritage) such as English, German, Italian or French. Public schools also have mandatory English and Spanish, but only once or twice a week.
  • In Canada, almost all public schools use either English or French as the medium of instruction: French is standard in the province of Quebec and, along with English, in New Brunswick. The official language not used as the primary medium of instruction is taught as a mandatory subject in primary school, and becomes optional for most secondary school students. Many public and private school systems in English jurisdictions also offer French immersion. In the far north, some aboriginal languages, such as Inuit and Innu, are also used in local school systems.
  • In the People's Republic of China (PRC), Mandarin is used as the medium of instruction in most schools. In elementary and secondary schools for ethnic minorities, the minority languages - such as Mongolian, Tibetan and Korean - are also used. In recent years, some joint-venture schools offer exclusive English medium of instruction.
    • In Hong Kong, either Cantonese or English is the medium in most schools at the primary and secondary level. English is used almost exclusively at the tertiary level. The use of Cantonese Chinese as a medium of instruction for primary and secondary schools has been a controversial issue in the decade after Hong Kong's handover to China.
    • In Macau, Cantonese is used as the medium of instruction in many schools. Portuguese is used in Portugal-backed schools. English, which is not an official language of the region, is also used in a lot of schools.
  • In Estonia, Estonian is used with 26 schools in the south teaching Võro once a week. The use of Russian is being limited since restoring independence.
  • In Finland, Finnish is the language used in most schools, but Swedish, which is also an official national language, is used in a number of schools along the coast and Abo Akademi. The right to education in Swedish is based in the constitution. There are also a few schools where education is given to some extent in Sami in the north. See also Mandatory Swedish.
  • In France, legislation restricts languages other than French in state schools. Other languages of France are the medium of instruction in non-state schools such as Diwan Breton language-medium schools and the Calendretas in the south that use Occitan. See Language policy in France
  • In Georgia, most schools conduct education in Georgian. The number of Azerbaijani schools is being reduced.[3]
  • In India, media of instruction switch among English, Hindi, and the respective states’ official languages. Private schools usually prefer English, while public schools tend to go with one of the last two.
  • In Ireland, English is used in most schools with a growing number of gaelscoileanna (10%) using Irish.
  • In Japan, Japanese is used in most schools (including Universities and Colleges).
  • In Latvia, Latvian is used in most schools. The network of Russian-language schools is being reduced. Some Polish-language schools were created after restoration of independence. Education in public minority high schools is conducted mostly in Latvian since 2004, despite wide protests (Russian School Defense Staff).
  • In Moldova, Moldovan (Romanian) is used but Russian is slowly being introduced[citation needed].
  • In New Zealand, English is used in many schools, but a growing number of kohanga reo (kindergarten) and kura kaupapa (primary and secondary school) are using Māori instead.
  • In Norway, the medium of instruction is Norwegian.
  • In Pakistan, most schools and universities use Urdu and English as medium of instruction.
  • In the Republic of China (Taiwan), Mandarin is used as the medium of instruction.
  • In Romania, the medium of instruction is Romanian but minorities, such as Hungarian and German, are allowed to teach in their respective languages.
  • In Singapore, the medium of instruction is English in all schools following the national curriculum, except in "mother-tongue" subjects. International and private schools may use other languages.
  • In Slovenia, Slovenian is used throughout the country, but the Hungarian and Italian minorities are entitled to primary and secondary education in their language.
  • In Switzerland, German, French, Italian, and/or Romansh are used in most schools.
  • In Tanzania, Swahili is used in primary schools (seven years), whereas English is used secondary schools (four to six years) and universities.
  • In Turkey, Turkish is used in most schools, although English is used as well.[citation needed]
  • In the United Kingdom, English is mostly used.
    • In the Isle of Man (not part of the United Kingdom) English is used, but Manx is being revived with one Manx-medium school at St. John’s.
    • In Scotland, English is the primary language of instruction although Gaelic medium education is also available. There is little or no use of Lowland Scots as a medium of education.
    • In Wales, while the majority of schools teach through the medium of English, an increasing number teach through the medium of Welsh.
    • In Cornwall, the Cornish language is used in some schools otherwise teaching occurs using English.
  • In the United States, English is used, but in some schools, Spanish, French (in Louisiana,) Hawaiian (in Hawaii) and local Indian languages are used as well.

See also


External links

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