Internationalization and English as a Medium of Instruction in Mongolian Higher Education


Sainbayar Gundsambuu, Osaka University, Japan and National University of Mongolia, Mongolia
Email: [email protected]

Citation: Gundsambuu, S. (2019). Internationalization and English as a Medium of Instruction in Mongolian Higher Education. IAFOR Journal of Education, 7(1).


In the growing global trend of internationalization, Mongolian universities plan to increase courses and programs in English in order to improve their competitiveness and ultimately to become internationally visible, at least in Asia. This study discusses the current process of internationalization at Mongolian universities and explores the rationales of implementing English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) at Mongolian universities. The analysis focuses on how the top-down national-level policies to internationalize the higher education sector influence both national and private universities, and what drives universities to adopt EMI policies. This paper intends to answer these questions through document analysis and an online survey at two private universities in Mongolia. Forty faculty members participated in the survey. All data went through the qualitative document analysis, “describing, classifying and connecting” (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996) to portray a comprehensive picture of the internationalization of higher education and the concept of EMI in Mongolia. The findings revealed that the Mongolian government is the key player in internationalization at the national level by making policies, taking initiatives, and encouraging national universities. However, the process of internationalization is much slower at private universities. The two private universities in Mongolia implement EMI for the following four reasons, 1) increasing the employability of domestic graduates, 2) promotion of international collaboration, 3) generating more income, and 4) increasing domestic and international profile. The faculty members of the two leading private universities understood that the introduction of EMI at their universities aimed to equip their graduates with English language skills to operate globally and to improve their universities’ international profile.


English as a medium of instruction, faculty development, international collaboration, internationalization of higher education