I was reading today that the Politecnico di Milano in Italy is changing to an English-speaking university only. Quite a remarkable move considering the level of English penetration within Italy. This is a country, after all, which is in the bottom third of English knowledge within Europe.
The university is one of the largest in Italy with about 36,500 students and from 2014 most of its degree courses (and all its graduate courses) will switch to English.
If you travel Italy you will find that knowledge of English ranges – in general – from zero to scant. And in today’s world this is a drawback for the country. The university is taking a brave step in switching courses to English but it is a logical step, nonetheless.
My fear, though, is the teaching. Having spent some time in Italy working as a teacher, I was exposed to the university system and the, quite frankly poor language skills of some of the teachers working there. Apparently the university has put aside €50,000 for the changeover but I personally don’t think it is a matter of money here but one of attitude.
We shall see…
See a BBC news report on this item here.Image © matteopenzo