No more English-only courses at Milan’s Polytecnico

Council of State insists: only alongside Italian.

The Italian council of state has ruled the bid by Milan Polytechnical university to introduce English-only degree courses to be illegitimate.

The council is the legal-administrative consultative body that ensures the legality of public administration in Italy.

The definitive sentence confirmed the 2013 ruling by the regional administrative tribunal (TAR), against which the university had appealed.

Administrators at the Politecnico had hoped to attract more foreign students by offering degree courses conducted entirely in English.  But the council rejected the appeal, quoting a 2017 sentence by the constitutional court allowing courses in English to be offered, but only if the same material was offered also in Italian.

The decision met with mixed reactions.  Many teachers were disappointed, pointing out that the option would also have served to encourage Italian students to perfect their grasp of English. Others welcomed the sentence, having feared that English-only courses might lead to a risk of superficiality and lack of expertise.

And the sentence will have been celebrated at the prestigious Accademia della Crusca, watchdog over the Italian language and its correct usage.  Several present and past dons had added their names to an open letter to the constitutional court in March last year by scores of academics, pleading for the Italian courses to be protected.