55.2% of the students who are currently enrolled in the Baccalaureate see their professional future outside of Spain, according to the Future University Student Survey prepared by the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas. In this way, learning a foreign language is a priority for any student. However, and despite the fact that the education system has been incorporating improvements towards bilingualism, the latest data from EF Education First, make it clear that Spain continues to the tail of Europe in terms of English level. On a regional scale, Navarra, Madrid, the Basque Country and Asturias were the Autonomous Communities with the best scores, while La Rioja and Extremadura were the worst. "Given a scenario in which knowing English is key to being competitive, this means a real loss of opportunities for the Spanish population," said Xavier Martí, director of EF Education First in Spain, during the presentation of the report.
Faced with this panorama, the commitment to the internationalization of Higher Education is an impetus when it comes to promoting a bilingual education. The latest report of the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) confirms the growth of university training programs with more than 50% of their subjects in other languages. The biggest advance: in postgraduate studies and master's degrees, and in private universities, where they have experienced a 95% growth compared to 25% of public ones.
Dorothy Kelly, executive secretary of the CRUE Internationalization and Cooperation sector, notes that "it is evident that almost all Spanish universities are developing a linguistic policy that reflects as one of its elements the important role of the English language in society. current globalization, without losing sight of the importance of Spanish, or of other languages », and points out that« for some years now, students of the Spanish educational system have reached the university with the highest level of English, thanks in part to the implementation of centers and bilingual lines in primary and secondary schools and also to the great ease of access to the language through the Internet and other digital media ». In addition, it states that "in many autonomous communities and universities there is a requirement of language level (English or another foreign language) to graduate from the first university cycle (Degree) or for access to the postgraduate course (Master and Doctorate), which also it is an incentive for learning or consolidating knowledge ».
For Carmen Rubio, vice-rector of Internationalization of the University of La Laguna and president of the Internationalization Working Group, it is also important to attract international students to our degrees. Something common "in the postgraduate, Master and Doctorate cycles, given the tendency that exists among students (especially European) to internationalize their studies by doing a first cycle (Degree) in their system of origin, with a mobility experience to be possible, to then carry out the second and third cycles in other systems and countries ». And he points out that "to attract international students, we must also think about the total international mobility flows. The Atlas project of the Institute for International Education accounts for 4.6 million students abroad in 2017. Spain appears in tenth place on the list worldwide, with a significant growth of 24.9% between 2016 and 2017. It is clear that to meet this huge demand, the few universities that lead the world rankings are not enough. A tendency towards the generation of regional attraction nuclei is detected in countries such as China, Russia or Australia ».
Internationalization at home
If we bear in mind that 92% of university students complete all their training in Spain, improving the preparation and acquiring better skills in English from the universities themselves is key. "The most important objective of the teaching of English, especially in the first cycle, is to offer an element of internationalization to all students of the university, and especially to the local non-participant in mobility programs. A process of internationalization at home », agree in saying both experts, who also remember that« as far as possible in each individual case, it is very interesting for the learning of the students that go to study a period of studies, of professional practices, or volunteering in another country. All studies point to the great impact of these programs on learning, not only linguistically, but also culturally, interculturally, professionally, academically and, especially, in personal and interpersonal skills ». However, they state that "we must not lose sight of our commitment to our entire university community and offer programs and opportunities to acquire and develop these skills also on our campuses".
The United Kingdom is one of the main destinations when learning English. Carolina Jiménez, Director of Education British Council Spain, points out that "it offers multiple opportunities to young Spaniards. Its universities, varied, flexible and very open to international students, welcome every year almost half a million students from other countries, of them about 125,000 Europeans and 13,000 Spaniards ». A figure that includes mainly students who study the whole career or postgraduate in Great Britain, excluding Erasmus. In addition, another half million study British degrees outside the United Kingdom, at a distance or through franchising programs. «The offer is interesting and there is no doubt, the Spanish baccalaureate and good level of English (6.5 IELTS) are the requirements. But there are also ways to spend a quarter there or make an exchange. Many British universities have collaboration agreements with Spanish universities and students study a course or quarter. There is also a huge diversity of programs to do internships in Great Britain. "
Multiple options, within and outside our borders, with a single objective: to make bilingualism stop being a pending issue among our university students. . (tagsToTranslate) university (t) internationalization