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EMI Master Training in Jakarta with the University of Indonesia and the University of Sheffield July 11th – July 22nd

The Master Training stage of the English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) Pathfinder Project, jointly conducted by Universitas Indonesia and the University of Sheffield, completed its two-week on-site run in Depok on July 22, 2022 with a total of 62 participating faculty members originating from 22 higher education institutions across Indonesia. This UK-ID capacity building programme is one of eight British Council funded UK-ID English Digital Innovation Partnership programmes.

During this face-to-face stage of the project, two cohorts of participants, consisting of both English and subject lecturers, each completed thirty hours of intensive training as a continuation of the hybrid multistage EMI Pathfinder programme. Given the apparent inevitability of EMI in the Higher Education sector, alongside the growing internationalisation of tertiary education, this programme aims to achieve lasting, sustainable capacity building with EMI lecturers and English lecturers in order to support Indonesian institutions, faculty staff, and Indonesian students to compete on a global scale.

Training sessions were led in person by David Read, Academic Director for Technology Enhanced Language Learning at English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC), University of Sheffield. Having traveled a great distance to conduct the training, Read revealed the particularly exciting aspect of physically gathering in a room altogether to be a “fantastic to share experiences” and share “lessons learned and best practice.”

Indeed, Read’s enthusiasm was apparent in his highly interactive sessions, which were brimming with both enjoyment and valuable learning and insight. Over the five days of training focused on master training skills, participants were encouraged to engage in meaningful discussion with each other before returning to confer with partners from their respective home institutions. At the end of both weeks, all participants conducted a mock training session with their colleagues, which served as a brief simulation for the knowledge dissemination that each attending institution is expected to deliver in the final stages of the programme.

Coming from a vast array of locations across the Indonesian archipelago, the participants made use of this face-to-face course stage to directly share insight on the current practice, application, and development of EMI within the unique contexts of each of their institutions. Some universities reported already having widespread EMI programmes in place, across different faculties and courses, while other institutions are still in the process of planning EMI implementation. Participants reported some common problems which have hindered the development of EMI in their institutions – including the challenge of securing funding, lack of adequate resources, and crucially, relatively low English proficiency among both lecturers and students alike. These findings correlate strongly with the findings reported in the British Council’s recent report[1] into EMI practice in Indonesian Higher Education Institutions.

The facilitated interaction which occurred over the two weeks significantly helped spur the motivation of the participants in completing the EMI Pathfinder hybrid training. It also helped equip participants with the knowledge and skills to support their institutions in conducting, or planning, EMI courses – especially through better understanding the challenges and possible negative of EMI implementation. Attendant Komilie Situmorang, S.Pd., M.Sc. of the Faculty of Nursing, Universitas Pelita Harapan, stated her belief that the takeaway which she and her colleagues received will prove extremely useful and practical:

“I am very positive that when I go back to my home university, all these materials as well as the techniques implemented in the online as well as during the face-to-face [stage] will be very fruitful and benefit us,” stated Situmorang, in addition to expressing gratitude towards this programme for its “well-prepared materials”.

Also appreciative towards the program was ​​Prihantoro, S.S., M.A., Ph.D., Lecturer in Linguistics at Universitas Diponegoro, who described the course materials as “methodologically relevant.” Prihantoro, among other attendants, expressed his confidence in the ability to implement, adapt and deliver the training materials in their home institutions. It is important to note the EMI Pathfinder training materials have been specifically tailored to the Indonesian context of EMI by Universitas Indonesia and the University of Sheffield.

The completed Master Training stage of the EMI Pathfinder programme serves as a significant mark of investment in the EMI development process within the nation. This group of academics form a national EMI community of practice spanning a multitude of institutions from all corners of Indonesia. Through meeting face to face this community of practice of experts has significantly strengthened. Following the next stages of the project, which will take place online, all participating institutions will cascade these new skills, materials and resources among their EMI and English lecturers – ensuring greater scale and sustainability of this programme. It is hoped that this endeavor will help propel the systematic and prudent utilisation of EMI in our national institutions to better equip Indonesia’s higher education sector in the long term.

(Maura Sekar-Amarati L)