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English medium instruction in Higher Education of Afghanistan: students’ perspective

Sayeed Naqibullah Orfan ORCID logo EMAIL logo and Muhammad Yaqoob Seraj


The study investigated students’ views of reasons for the adoption of English medium instruction (EMI) in Afghan Higher Education, EMI effects on official languages and students’ preference of medium of instruction. It also explored whether students’ gender, first language and English proficiency had any significant impact on their responses. The data were collected from 840 students by means of an online questionnaire from four public universities based in northeastern Afghanistan. The dataset was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The results showed that students had a positive attitude towards EMI in higher education. They believed that the universities should adopt EMI for various reasons, e.g., internationalization of universities. They were aware of the negative effects of EMI on the official languages of Afghanistan. They were more likely to select a combination of English and official languages for the medium of instruction. Students’ gender and first language did not have a significant impact on their attitudes towards EMI; however, their English proficiency significantly impacted their attitudes towards EMI. Moreover, their gender and first language, and English proficiency had significant effects on their preference of language of instruction. The study suggests a policy for gradual transition to bilingual education in Higher Education.

Corresponding author: Sayeed Naqibullah Orfan, Takhar University, Taloqan City, Afghanistan, E-mail:


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Received: 2021-10-02
Accepted: 2022-02-25
Published Online: 2022-06-09
Published in Print: 2022-05-25

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