[lg policy] African countries using African languages in education?

Annette Islei annetteislei at gmail.com
Mon Feb 23 21:49:52 UTC 2015


Hello

In Uganda a 'local language' is used in government schools if possible for
the first 3 years, with transition to English in year 4. Urban schools tend
to be allowed to use English. Private schools usually are as well - and
there are a lot of private schools. So the policy is still fairly fragile,
but does function. It was instituted with a new Thematic curriculum in
2007. Having both together was important for the language policy to be
taken seriously. We have researched literacy in year one, and found the
government Guide for Teachers was very poor in the methods recommended for
local languages and children were hindered in their learning. Methods were
possibly more suited to English - so the hangover of English continues in
many obvious and subtle ways, and local language in itself is not a
'cure-all'

Uganda has about 40 local languages, with maybe gradually up to 20 having
an adequate orthography, dictionary, etc. Kiswahili has relatively low
status and usage - different from Kenya, and even more so Tanzania.

Please beware - although Kiswahili is indigenous in Tanzania there are a
very high number of 'local languages', and the dominance of Swahili can
have a negative effect on them, just as English can in Uganda. And not all
languages are Bantu languages like Swahili - so just because it is
'African' does not mean it is ideal in the early years for children to
learn through Swahili - their home language may be very different in
structure

Also - do not confuse government policy with  practice. Actual practices
and language use indicate semi- or unofficial family, school and community
policies.

But TZ seemed to have a big problem with transition to English in the first
year of Secondary - and this is a very brave and radical step. Another
place to look at is South Africa - where Kwazulu-Natal university, for
instance, is now officially bilingual.

Best regards

Annette


Secretary of Language in Africa SIG, British Association for Applied
Linguistics (BAAL)

Founding Member / Advisor, Centre for Action and Applied Research for
Development (CAARD) (U) Ltd., Fort-Portal, Kabarole District, Uganda.
www.caard.co.ug




On 23 February 2015 at 16:18, Steve L. Sharra <Steve.Sharra at mopipi.ub.bw>
wrote:

> Hello all,
>
>
>
> With the new language in education policy, will Tanzania be the only
> country in Africa using an African language as a language of instruction? Would
> anybody know if there are other African countries that already use
> African languages for instruction in schools at any level?
>
>
>
> Steve
>
>
>
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