Why Do Students Opt for English Medium Instruction in Humanities and Social Sciences in Sri Lanka?


  • P. B. S. L. Pushpakumara Department of English Language Teaching, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
  • M. P. Madhusanka Department of Economics, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
  • N. A. N. J. Maduwansha Department of Social Statistics, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka


English medium instruction (EMI) has become popular among students in humanities and social sciences around the world due to the perceived benefits of EMI. A similar tendency can be observed in Sri Lanka too. In particular, faculties of humanities and social sciences of  Sri Lankan universities  have also introduced their degree programmes in English. However, limited studies have been conducted to investigate the factors that influence students’ selection of EMI in these disciplines. Thus, employing non-probability sampling techniques the present study selected seventy-one (N-71) humanities and social sciences students from a state university in Sri Lanka. The data was collected through a Google form questionnaire to investigate the factors that influenced them to select EMI. Qualitative data obtained through the questionnaire were analyzed using directed content analysis approach. Employment prospects, developing English language skills, increased access to study materials, higher study prospects, upward social mobility and promotion of local culture were identified as the key determinants in selecting EMI among the participants. These findings are useful for various stakeholders including content teachers involved in EMI in universities, English language teaching staff, material designers and university administration to make appropriate decisions regarding English medium degree programmes and introduce appropriate English language programmes to enhance these students’ English language skills.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.31357/fhss/vjhss.v08i02.04