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Language Policy Rationales, Appropriation and Debates: A Case of English as Medium of Instruction in Indonesia’s International-Standard Schools

Sundusiyah, Anis (2019) Language Policy Rationales, Appropriation and Debates: A Case of English as Medium of Instruction in Indonesia’s International-Standard Schools. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Beyond its pedagogical technicality, language policy is both ideological and political. The English as Medium of Instruction or EMI policy in Indonesia’s international-standard public schools (IS-Schools) was an exemplary picture of how ideologically and politically contentious a language policy could be. The policy marked a significant shift of the nation’s language policy orientations, from post-independence state-nationalism and sociopolitical cohesion, to global economic competitiveness and political alliance. With unequal educational access in this populated, multicultural country, the EMI policy faced not only technical challenges at school level, but also normative, ideological and political resistance from micro- and macro-level stakeholders.
In this constructivist study, I described and analyzed the Indonesia’s EMI policy goals and its surrounding debates, including a school-based case study to illustrate micro-level practices and challenges. Generating data from policy documentations and interviews, I applied an interpretive policy framework to analyze policy-relevant artifacts, meanings, interpretive communities and discourses. The analysis primarily explored differences between policy meanings—as intended by national policy makers—and various, contrasting meanings—as framed and constructed by multilevel stakeholders, including local teachers and domestic and international scholars.
Key findings revealed divergent values, beliefs and approaches to problems, constructed out of stakeholder’s social situatedness. Despite optimistic tones from policy makers and several school members, many were alarmed with schools differing capacities related to teachers’ language competence and logistics. Many praised global-oriented goals of EMI policy in increasing individuals’ opportunities and mobility—supposedly resulting from instrumental and integrative values of English-mediated education—and hence the nation’s global economic and sociopolitical existence. Most stakeholders acknowledged utilitarian merits of English language competence, but many disapproved of English being an instructional language. Opponents argued that officiating English as additional medium of instruction in public schools may empirically and hypothetically contribute to youth’s national identity erosion, national language marginalization, and speedy decrease of local language speakers. Some scholars believed that incentive-loaded IS-Schools had deepened socioeconomic divides among formal schools. Such differing viewpoints may not always be in opposition. However, ideological and political alignments seemed to be challenging, resulting in wicked language policy situations.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Sundusiyah, Anisans161@pitt.eduans161
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
McClure, Maureenmmcclure@pitt.edummcclure
Porter, Maureenmporter@pitt.edumporter
Weidman, Johnweidman@pitt.eduweidman
Date: 16 December 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 October 2019
Approval Date: 16 December 2019
Submission Date: 14 December 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 402
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: educational language policy English as medium of instruction instrumentalist-globalist and culturalist-nationalist international schools language policy technical, normative, and political dimensions of policy
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2019 14:53
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2019 16:15


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