A public policy perspective on English medium instruction in China

Guangwei Hu, Lubna Alsagoff

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Language education for ethnic majority and minority students alike has recently received much policy attention in the People's Republic of China. An outcome of this policy attention is the Chinese-English bilingual education initiative which turns on the use of English as a medium of instruction for Han majority students at the primary and secondary levels of education. This paper draws on the public policy perspective on language policy formulated by François Grin and analyses the English medium instruction initiative in terms of four principles that can guide policy evaluations, namely normative justification, practical feasibility, allocative effectiveness and distributive justice. Implications then are derived from the analysis for a policy deliberation on the use of English as an instructional medium in trilingual provision for autochthonous ethnic minorities in China. The paper concludes by sketching a policy alternative to English medium instruction for both majority and minority students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-382
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bilingualism
  • Language minorities
  • Language planning
  • Language policy
  • Language rights
  • Public policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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