Medium-of-instruction policies in higher education in Cambodia




Chan, Virak

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This dissertation examines the current medium-of-instruction policies in Cambodian higher education and the social, economic, and political contexts for their implementation. This research follows a case study design in which one flagship university is examined because of its leading status in the country. From the combined framework of language ecology and linguistic imperialism, data were obtained at different layers of the policies including legislations, institutions, and classrooms. At the legislation level, policy documents were analyzed to see how different languages are represented. At the institutional level, interviews with university administrators and job and scholarship announcements were examined for the contexts for the policies implementation. The contexts for implementation were also examined at the classroom level with data drawing from classroom observations and interviews with both students and instructors. A critical discourse and nexus analysis were done to uncover the discourses about language and their intersections at the different layers of the policies. The findings raise interesting issues regarding the mother-tongue medium, English medium, and bilingual education in the post-colonial and developing countries including nationalism, modernism, hegemony and social inequality. They also contribute to the increasing knowledge of the growing influence of foreign languages particularly English in these countries (Cambodia as an example in this case), of the potential inequalities caused by language policies, and of the social, economic and political contexts that condition them. The knowledge in turns helps inform language policy actors from top to the bottom levels including legislators, rectors, administrators, instructors and students of the university.


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Conditioned Language Ecology, Discourse Analysis, English Language Spread, Language Planning and Policy, Medium-of-instruction Policy, Nexus Analysis



Bicultural-Bilingual Studies