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The Economics of Language Policy$
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Michele Gazzola and Bengt-Arne Wickström

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034708

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034708.001.0001

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English on the Rise: Access and Resources in Internationalization

English on the Rise: Access and Resources in Internationalization

(p.433) 14 English on the Rise: Access and Resources in Internationalization
The Economics of Language Policy

Lauren Zentz

The MIT Press

The data presented in this chapter highlight the Indonesian state’s influence on citizens’ access to education as it implements policies that simultaneously aim to secure a national identity through enforcing Indonesian as medium of instruction in public schools and categorizing English as a Foreign Language. The state is in a double bind, and its policies are ineffective: in globalization, English cannot be avoided, but the state lacks the resources needed to meet internationalized standards with language and curriculum content appropriate to the needs of Indonesia’s student populations and the skills of its teachers. Because of these dynamics, the English language is accessed mostly by those who already have access to mobility, wealth, and “international standard” educations. The national categorization of English as a Foreign Language combined with a contradictory rush to get citizens English alone by increasing its distribution throughout educational curricula, promises nothing more than to reinforce levels of English fluency as indicators of individuals’ access to or marginalization from wealth and state-distributed educations. Beliefs that English alone will earn the Indonesian state and its citizens prosperous positions in national and global society act to conflate the English language with the other important material factors alongside which this symbol of wealth “hitchhikes” (Mendoza-Denton, 2011), and this has led to rushed and ineffective policy implementation on many levels.

Keywords:   Language policy, Nationalism, Indonesia, Global English, Globalization

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