Why mixed methods for Modish?

By Saraswati Dawadi

In this project we are using a mixed-methods approach, adopting a time series longitudinal design to collect data from undergraduate students (enrolled in four disciplines, namely Business/Economics, Humanities, Sciences, and Medicine/Nursing), teachers and other key stakeholders including educationists, policy makers and representatives from I/NGOs who work in education and IT companies in the four research countries. We are collecting data by using several methods of quantitative and qualitative research in two phases, with a 13–15-month interval between the two. The quantitative part is online surveys for students and teachers, and the qualitative part consists of focus group discussions (FGDs), semi- structured interviews and Padlet discussions.

The use of a mixed-method design offers us methodological flexibility and should lead to an in-depth understanding of the research issues. Using data from multiple sources in two phases, we will be able to address our research questions with appropriate depth and breadth (Dawadi et al. 2021). The quantitative method (i.e., online questionnaire surveys) enables us to collect data from a large number of participants, increasing the possibility of generalising our findings to a wider population, while the qualitative methods (interviews, FGDs and Padlet discussion) will provide a deeper understanding of the research issues being explored, honouring the voices of our participants. This approach enables us to develop more effective and refined conclusions by using data from multiple sources (Plano Clark & Ivankova, 2016).

There are four justifications for combining qualitative and quantitative data in this study: triangulation (seeking corroboration between the two sets of data), expansion (extending the breadth and range of enquiry by using different methods), complementarity (elaboration, illustration and explanation of the results from one method with the results from another),  and convergent findings (using both data sets to answer the same research question and producing greater certainty in the conclusion)

As the main purpose of using a mixed methods design in this study is to obtain different but complementary data on the same research issues in order to understand them better, the data are collected separately, but independently from each other, and combined before interpreting the findings. Equal priority is given to both data sets, giving equal importance of both types of data in answering the research questions in this study. Quantitative results are triangulated with qualitative findings and vice versa to produce rigorous and reliable findings.

However, we have faced some challenges in using this design. First, in a complex project involving four countries it requires a large amount of time, effort and planning. Secondly, it requires us to have a wider set of skills to conduct the research rigorously as it involves data collection and analysis from multiple sources in multiple phases. One more challenge for us is to suitably combine different methods and/or datasets so that there is no compromise on the reliability and robustness of the research. The research methods and tools used in this study have been piloted in all four countries, which has been an essential step but has entailed more time, effort and planning.

An additional challenge was related to instrument design (particularly the online questionnaires) for the study. Since we are collecting data from four different countries and our participants (students and teachers) are from four different disciplines, it was difficult to make our instruments suitable for all the participants. Similarly, we wanted to collect information about participants’ ethnic backgrounds, but we realised that any classification used in the UK would not be applicable in the four research contexts, particularly because people in those countries are often from mixed backgrounds. One more challenge for us was to define key terms such as equality, diversity and inclusion, as we found that these terms are not necessarily widely understood, or understood in the same way, but we had limited space to define them in our questionnaires.  However, we will get an opportunity to delve into the issues further when we conduct interviews, FGDs and Padlet discussions.


Dawadi, S., Shrestha S., & Giri, R.A. (2021). Mixed-methods research: A discussion on its types, challenges, and criticisms. Journal of Practical Studies in Education, 2(2), 25-36.

Plano Clark, V. L. & Ivankova, N. V. (2016). Mixed methods research. A guide to the field. Sage Publications

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Indonesia Context: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

 By Imroatus Solikhah

Indonesia is one of the archipelagic countries in the world that have many ethnic and local languages and multilingual populations. This linguistic diversity arouses interest in learning a foreign language. The challenges of teaching and learning English as a foreign language to learners of all ages — young learners up to university students — can be seen in educational policies, curriculum, ideology, and socio-cultural and religious values, and is currently being contested in the process of shaping research and practice of English education in complex, dynamic, and polycentric sociolinguistic situations (Zaen, 2020).

Indonesia’s higher education system contains two main streams, namely the national system (Kemendikbud/Ministry of Education and Culture/MoEC) and what is known as the religious system (kemenag/ Ministry of Religion/MoRA). There are consequently two sets of regulations here: most public and private tertiary institutions are regulated by the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC), while others are regulated by the Ministry of Religion (MoRA). The latter include higher education centers owned and operated by faith-based organizations, including state organizations, with curricula focused on theology and other religion-specific fields of study but they have public and private study programs as well (Chan, 2019). In higher education, there are five categories of institutions, such as university (Universitas), institute (Institut), Tertiary College (Sekolah Tinggi), Polytechnic (Politeknik/Poltek), and Academy (Akademi) for both public and private education. For instance, STAIN/STABN/High School of Religion, IAIN and UIN have not only majors in the field of religion but also majors in economics, language and literature, medicine, science, and so on. However, many religious institutions, such as those run by Muhammadiyah and the Catholic Church, remain part of the national system, under the Ministry of Education and Culture, and teach the state curriculum. All higher education institutions in Indonesia can confer degrees from bachelor level up to doctoral level, however, master and doctoral degrees from polytechnics are referred to as ‘applied’ degrees under MoEC regulations.

English is a compulsory subject in Indonesia, however the implementation of teaching and learning English is not standard yet. The universities have their own standards. How to design appropriate materials and how to teach and learn are still areas of conflict. Putra et al. (2022) argue that these failures reflect the dominance of predatory officials and business groups in institutional governance and the relative marginalization of those who support improved research, teaching, and community service in line with either neo-liberal or idealist conceptions of quality. Indonesia is famous for changing ministers, and the change is followed by policy and curriculum changes. The impact of that can be confusion and it creates a barrier to implementing changes in the teaching-learning process (Nevenglosky, et all, 2019).

The biggest problem of education in Indonesia is how to arrange the frequently changed curriculum and distribute the materials (Solikhah, 2022) which need to be revised. Therefore the biggest problem faced by Indonesia in English education is how to develop a curriculum, revise the materials and then distribute them. Regarding English language competence, there is a gap between urban and rural competence and preoccupation with curriculum matters. The campus decides on its own standards in English language education. In other words, the level of English competence does not only depend on the university’s vision and mission but also the competence of different lecturers and available facilities. In addition, tailoring of material for young learners to university students has not been accommodated. The new minister of education commonly introduces a new curriculum and policy is changed, however the new curriculum is not necessarily effective.

Indonesia has made significant progress in education, including large improvements in enrolment and gender parity. The government can build on education reforms and achieve better results in line with President Jokowi’s vision. Indonesia can ensure all children get a good start, and it can focus on learning for all to ensure that no children fall behind, especially those who are poor, live in remote areas, or have disabilities, by  assessing and bridging learning gaps, selecting, preparing and supporting teachers, strengthening accountability mechanisms, and building a more resilient education system.

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us to learn and change our habits. The diffusion of information and communications technology (ICT) into all aspects of our lives and its impact on altering the nature of social interactions is not a new phenomenon (Harto, 2020). Indonesia is in a unique position to exploit the advent of online learning. More than 171 million or 69 percent of Indonesians are connected to the worldwide web with an internet penetration rate that stood at 63.5 percent in 2019 according to the latest survey by the Association of Indonesian Internet Service Providers (APJII), which is higher than the average for Asian countries. The MODISH project will support the understanding of the role of technology and EDI (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion) in English education for higher education.

Rosser (2018) argues that the Indonesian Government hopes to develop a ‘world-class’ education system by 2025. However, numerous assessments of the country’s education performance suggest that it has a long way to go before it will achieve that goal. Many Indonesian teachers and lecturers lack the required subject knowledge and pedagogical skills to be effective educators; learning outcomes for students are poor; and there is a disparity between the skills of graduates and the needs of employers. So, a project like MODISH will be a fruitful experience to help educators improve teaching and learning.


Chan, C. (2019). Briefing note: Indonesia’s higher education systems. Skills

Futures, The Australia-Indonesia Centre.

Harto, R. B. (2020). Transforming Indonesia’s education through online

learning”. https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2020/05/21/transforming-indonesias-education-through-online-learning.html

Nevenglosky, E. A., Cale C., Aguilar, L.P. (2019). Barriers to effective curriculum implementation. Research in Higher Education Journal. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1203958.pdf

Pratama, C. Dina Chamidah, Suyatno, S., Faiza R. (2021). Strategies to improved education quality in Indonesia: A review. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology 12(3),1977-1994

Rosser, Andrew. (2023). Higher education in Indonesia: The political economy of

institution-level governance. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 53 (1), 53-78. DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2021.2010120.

Rosser, A. (2018). Beyond access: Making Indonesia’s education system work.

Lowy Institute, https://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/beyond-access making-indonesia-s-education-system-work

Solikhah, I. (2022). Revisiting the EFL curriculum in the outcome-based

education framework and freedom to learn program. Journal of Social Studies Education Research, 13(2), 243-264

Zein, S., Sukyadi, D., Hamied, F.  A., Lengkanawati, N. S. (2020). English Language Education in Indonesia: A review of research (2011–2019). Language Teaching 53(4):1-33. DOI: 10.1017/S0261444820000208.


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Bangladesh Context: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

By Naushaad Kabir

Because of the long colonial history, English has occupied a significant position in the education of Bangladesh. At present, English is taught as a compulsory subject from grade 1 to grade 12 and also in the first year of undergraduate programmes. Among the diverse streams of education offered under the educational curriculum of Bangladesh, English medium schools follow the Cambridge curriculum to a great extent, and to a limited but promising extent, the IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum. The demand for the English version of the national curriculum at the secondary and primary levels of education is on the rise.  At the tertiary level, since 1992, private universities have been offering education in English. Specialist universities like science and technology or medical universities also offer education in English. In general universities, both teachers and learners have the freedom to choose their medium of instruction (MOI). There are more than 100 private universities and 50 public universities in the country (Haque, 2022; Sultana & Chowdhury, 2022) and around 2300 tertiary level colleges affiliated to the National University of Bangladesh where around 2 million students study (Haque, 2022). The role of English as a medium of instruction is increasing at all levels of education and employment.

At present, the country’s vision and missions are more driven by the global, commercial, technological and neo-liberal trends. The Aspire to Innovate (a2i) Programme, a multinational digital transformation organization under the ICT division of the Government of Bangladesh, focuses on the inclusive digitization of public services in Bangladesh. Among the nine missions mentioned on their website (https://a2i.gov.bd/), it pays special attention to Smart Bangladesh Vision 2041, Digital Equity and Future of Education. According to ‘SMART Bangladesh Vision 2041’, the country aspires to being a High-Income Country by 2041 by achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The three following excerpts from the website elucidate the government’s emphasis on technology and development more lucidly.

Smart Bangladesh Vision 2041

Smart Bangladesh Vision 2041 is about more than a futuristic Bangladesh, more than 5G internet, more than 100% smartphone penetration, more than 100% high-speed internet penetration, more than going cashless.

Digital Equity

Building forward better, Innovative Bangladesh Vision 2041 requires an uncompromising and relentless focus on ensuring Digital Equity – the idea that everyone should have the availability, accessibility and affordability of information technology needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy.

Future of Education

Bangladesh’s approach to reforming the education ecosystem has been multidimensional. It is a collaborative effort between the Government, NGOs, and the private sector. Together, they have created a digital education ecosystem which follows a multimodal approach – a combination of multiple high-tech, low-tech and non-tech learning modalities . . . Keeping pace with the changing times, a2i has provided technical support to the education ministry to adapt a Private-Public-People-Media (PPPM) strategy to facilitate learning and teaching from home.

In implementing the government’s aspiration to be a high-income country by 2041, concerted efforts of people of diverse origins and types need to be included and a bridge between the colonial past and the aspiring present need to be built to be able to reach the desired future. There is no alternative to preparation through education and this is why the MODISH research project is pertinent and important, as it will help us understand the role of English with regard to technology and EDI. The project is aiming to build up a thorough understanding of how English is perceived and used in education by diverse stakeholders in the country, whether the treatment of English is appropriately directed towards the goal or whether further comprehension of deciding factors is needed for further improvement. The project can also help ensure the participation of people from all walks of life and thus reduce inequity and enhance access, affordability, inclusion and quality in English education.

Kabir (2012, 2016) identified disputes regarding the role and status of English in education in all the reports of the education committees/commissions in post-independence Bangladesh. He presents four assumptions behind such disputes, including lack of sustainable planning, intervention of political parties, ideological divides in intelligentsia and vulnerability of the policy (Kabir, 2012, 2016).  Through a research based approach, the MODISH project is likely to uncover the mismatches and contradictory elements in people’s ambivalent attitude towards English in the country, assist the educators, policy makers, guardians and students in coming to terms with the present day reality characterized by the rapid rise of technology i.e. artificial intelligence, VR technology, cashless society, the fourth industrial revolution and so on. Though the government level policy moves in a top-down fashion to still prioritise Bangla based education in a rather incoherent, ambiguous and ambivalent manner, the micro level practices of the people, in a bottom-up manner, seem to show preference for English in an unplanned and debatable way. Research projects like MODISH need to be conducted to eradicate challenges in language policy and planning with a view to ensuring smoother transition from the status of a ‘Least Developed Country’ to the status of a ‘Developing Country’ which Bangladesh targets to achieve in 2026.


A2i. https://a2i.gov.bd/

Haque, E.  (2022, June 15). Public v. Private Universities in Bangladesh. banglanews24. https://www.banglanews24.com/english/open-forum/news/bd/94450.details

Kabir, M. M. N. (2012). An evaluation of the secondary school English curriculum in Bangladesh: Suggestions for reforms. An unpublished PhD dissertation. School of English Language Education. The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India.

Kabir, M. M. N. (2016). English Language Education in Bangladesh: Linking the Doubly Colonized Past To The Present Situation. Journal of the Institute of Modern Languages, Volume 27, 2016. Institute of Modern Languages, University of Dhaka.

Sultana, N., & Chowdhury, N. E. (2023, 28 January) The rise of private universities in Bangladesh.  The Dhaka Tribune. https://www.dhakatribune.com/op-ed/2022/06/15/the-rise-of-private-universities-in-bangladesh


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India Context: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

By Amol Padwad

In this first post from India, I propose to briefly sketch a scenario of higher education in India. I will follow this up with further discussions of specific issues, aspects and trends, which seem relevant to the MODISH project.

India has a massive higher education system, with over a thousand universities and about 45000 higher education institutions and 38.5 million students, as the recent All India Higher Education Survey (AISHE, 2020) reported. However, access to higher education is not equitably available across the country, and considerable disparities exist in terms of gender, socio-economic status, location and socio-cultural background. English and EMI (English Medium Instruction) have a very strong presence in the Indian higher education, especially in STEM disciplines, which is a legacy carried forward from the long British colonial rule. The significant presence of English and EMI adds to the complexity of issues around inclusion/ exclusion in Indian higher education, as unequal opportunities and provision for learning English during school years engender issues of inadequate English competence for many sections of the population. Another dimension of the inclusion/ exclusion issues in higher education was brought into sharp relief during the COVID pandemic – the availability of and access to digital technology, especially in terms of efficient devices, connectivity and service providers. Access to the internet and smart phones has been very uneven across the country, with the poor, rural and younger generations most adversely affected.

In this context, a systematic exploration of the three-way association between English, EDI and technology holds huge potential for higher education in India. As India rolls out a new National Education Policy (NEP 2020) and aspires for a nearly two-fold jump in gross enrolments in higher education by 2030, these three dimensions of English, EDI and technology are of critical significance. No plans can be made effectively, nor implemented successfully, for such massive expansion of higher education unless and until issues around English-EDI-technology are adequately explored, understood and addressed. Obviously, the current MODISH project holds immense value and potential for a country like India. It is hoped that the project will help in developing a better and richer understanding of the links between these three dimensions, in identifying some concrete and practicable insights on not just various related issues but also possible ways to address them, and in informing policies and actions for the foreseeable future.

Currently, higher education in technical-professional disciplines is almost exclusively in English, while it is a preferred choice of medium in other disciplines too. English proficiency also matters a lot in employment and careers. Thus, proficiency in English is one crucial factor impacting access to and success in higher education. As a consequence, EMI has been rapidly rising in school education, particularly in the private sector, with associated issues of affordability. Typically, such underprivileged sections as the poor, the rural population, girls and religious minorities face the brunt of exclusion in the school years, which continues into higher education as well. Various affirmative actions are in place to support these sections, but these actions largely focus on the economic and access issues. The issues of English proficiency, and more recently, adequate access to technology, remain largely unaddressed. As a result, many among those who are supported to get into higher education continue to lag behind in terms of performance, achievement, employment and career progression

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China Context: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

By Jinlan Tang

The importance of English and English education

Since the implementation of its reform and opening-door policy, English language instruction has increased in importance in China’s education system. Presently, English is a subject of study from primary school and a mandatory course for university students of all majors. Regarded as the language of globalization, English is predicted to face challenges that will exert a significant impact on its development and its future as a global language. Therefore, there is a need to investigate the current use of English and English language teaching, learning and assessment in China, and predict the future of English in the wider context of multilingualism and multilingual education.

Technology-enhanced English education and EDI

Importantly, with the sharp rise of digital technology, artificial intelligence, and the ecological perspective in language education, it appears that online English language teaching and learning will be a significant growth area. In fact, technology has been widely used in Chinese universities to improve English language teaching and learning, a trend which is set to influence the future of English education. Due to China’s varied topography and relatively unequal social economic development between different areas, technology has always been considered as a viable means to share quality educational resources and to promote equity in education, a key mission of the government. In this sense, more emphasis needs to be given to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in teaching, learning and assessment.

Why this project matters to us

The project, with its focus on higher education, will track and evaluate the impact of the growing use of digital/mobile technology on regional and local ecologies of teaching, assessment and learning of English. The project is significant in that it offers insights into trends in terms of: (a) how technological innovation, which drives contemporary learning and communication in English, is shaping the future of the language in education, particularly higher education; (b) whether issues of gender, equality, diversity and inclusion will be an important consideration in the future of English; (c) the role that English plays as a linguistic resource alongside other languages; (d) policy and practice implications for the development of English in Asia.

What we hope to learn through this project

This project is important for students, educators and researchers in China. By exploring the current status of English language teaching, learning and assessment in and out of classroom settings, we can better understand localized pedagogy, effective teaching modes, fostering well-being in education, and affordances of technology-enhanced language education, which may provide insightful implications for the sustainable development of English language education in China.

Besides, we will also examine particular emerging trends around English use and education in China at the moment. Potential challenges teachers and students face in English language teaching and learning can also provide some directions and set the agenda for future pedagogical innovations in higher education.


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