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Norway universities criticised for overuse of English

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Norway universities criticised for overuse of English
University of Oslo. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix
10:45 CEST+02:00
The Language Council of Norway (Språkrådet) says it is concerned about the amount of English used in courses at Norwegian universities and colleges.

A number of classes at higher education institutions across the country are taught entirely in English, reports broadcaster NRK.

The council said that using too much English could be damaging both during studies and for life after them.

“We are particularly concerned for new students who find that almost their entire programme is in English. We are not convinced about the learning benefits, as it’s not certain all students are good enough at English,” Ole Våge said to NRK.

“It is a big problem if only English is used in education. The vast majority of people will be working in the Norwegian labour market afterwards,” he continued.

Våge said that classes taught in English were beneficial but should not be prioritised at the expense of Norwegian.

READ ALSO: English school threatens 'future of Norwegian language'

“It is completely natural to use both Norwegian and English. But we have seen that some classes are using solely English reading material,” he said.

Norwegian students themselves are less critical about the amount of English used in studies, according to NRK’s report.

Mats Johansen Beldo of the Norwegian Student Organization said that English was not excessively used at universities and colleges in the Scandinavian country.

“No, we students don’t think it’s a problem. Books in English are good and provide the academic input we need,” he told the broadcaster.

University of Oslo Deputy Rector Gro Bjørnerud Mo said the Norwegian was the primary language of classes at the university, and that the amount of English actually used in classes varies between programmes.

“We monitor closely language policies and the balance between English and other languages in our course catalogue,” she said.

READ ALSO: How Norway’s government is failing Nynorsk

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