EMI issues and challenges in Asia-Pacific higher education: An introduction

Ian Walkinshaw, Ben Fenton-Smith, Pamela Humphreys

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter makes the case for a research focus on English medium instruction (EMI) in Asia-Pacific higher education. Three key reasons are provided: (i) the rise in the geopolitical status of English as a lingua franca; (ii) the expansion of higher education in the region; and (iii) the boom in large-scale internationalisation education policies by Asia-Pacific governments. In this context, the very meaning of ‘EMI’ is problematized, with the binary ‘it is or it isn’t’ distinction eschewed in favour of more nuanced, situated conceptualisations, and extending to EMI in Anglophone contexts. The paper then outlines some of the key challenges relating to EMI at the governmental, institutional and classroom levels, as well as considering issues of language assessment and content outcomes. Finally, an overview of work by key researchers on EMI in Asia-Pacific is provided, focussing on: (i) EMI policies and practices in various Asia-Pacific polities; (ii) issues affecting EMI instructors; and (iii) multiple language use among learners in EMI contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnglish medium instruction in higher education in Asia-Pacific
Subtitle of host publicationfrom policy to pedagogy
EditorsBen Fenton-Smith, Pamela Humphreys, Ian Walkinshaw
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783319519760
ISBN (Print)9783319519746
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMultilingual education


  • Asia-Pacific
  • Content-based language teaching (CBLT)
  • Content and language integrated learning (CLIL)
  • English as a lingua franca (ELF)
  • English medium instruction (EMI)
  • Higher education


Dive into the research topics of 'EMI issues and challenges in Asia-Pacific higher education: An introduction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this