Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fourth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Attitudes towards English in Cuban Higher Education. Recent Developments and Challenges
Frank van Splunder, Geisa Dávila Pérez

Last modified: 07-05-2018

Abstract


English is used as a lingua franca in an increasing number of domains. In higher education, English has become prominent as the language of course materials, scientific publications, research, as well as teaching, a trend which is particularly noticeable in Europe. In Latin America, however, the surge of English is relatively recent, and within Latin America, Cuba is an interesting case. Whereas learning English was not encouraged in the 1980s, in today’s Cuba English has gained importance, and learning and teaching English has become a priority.

The current research explores how Cuban students and lecturers of two different fields (English and Engineering) perceive the growing importance of English in today’s higher education in Cuba. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire conducted at Universidad de Oriente, Santiago de Cuba. The results reveal a positive attitude towards English, which most participants perceive as very important for their career prospects. On the other hand, it was found that most respondents overrate their ability to communicate in English. Moreover, they are not acquainted with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), even though the Cuban Ministry of Higher Education has accepted the CEFR as its official standard.


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