Unjust Adjustment: Dispelling the Myth of English Superiority within Kuwaiti STEM Studies

  •  Reem Al-Rubaie    


In the scientific community, mastery of the English language has become vital to publishing discoveries, communicating with other scientists, and obtaining employment at multinational corporations, among other activities. In response to this need, universities in Kuwait and elsewhere in the Arabian Gulf have adopted an English-only policy for their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes, forcing local students to abandon their education in Modern Standard Arabic. This article discusses the effects of the English-only approach by questioning whether it truly corresponds to the needs of the market and offers the optimal educational experience. This work further affirms that the current policies create linguistic dualism between English as a language of modernity and professionalism, and Arabic as a language of tradition and emotions. This analysis suggests the necessity of further reflection on how this approach affects the self-representation of the Kuwaiti people. Finally, this article discusses the issue of linguistic rights, namely, whether students should be allowed to study in the official national language. This micro-study of the actual effects of the spread of English in the scientific community aspires to give a voice to those who are often dehumanized by large studies of the advantages of an international language.

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