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ERIC Number: ED540491
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 364
Abstractor: ERIC
ISBN: ISBN-978-9-2820-1170-6
Optimising Learning, Education and Publishing in Africa: The Language Factor--A Review and Analysis of Theory and Practice in Mother-Tongue and Bilingual Education in Sub-Saharan Africa
Ouane, Adama, Ed.; Glanz, Christine, Ed.
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (NJ1)
The central concern of this volume is how to provide quality education to African children, adolescents and adults through the best-suited media and curricular content in order to achieve social cohesion, inclusion and sustainable development. For at least five decades, since the 1953 UNESCO Report "The Use of Vernacular Languages in Education," African countries have been struggling to find an effective strategy that allows them to move from an education system inherited from the colonial period to a more transformative and culturally-relevant education system that takes into consideration African values and languages, specific socio-cultural and linguistic backgrounds as well as particular educational needs. Such a relevant and effective education strategy would be characterised, first of all, by the use of an appropriate medium of instruction, the use of adequate teaching techniques, the use of culturally adequate curriculum content and sufficient financial and material resources. Currently there are two competing views with respect to the central issue of language in education. Each view is based on a different vision for African societies: (1) The view that reflects the current practice in most African countries advocates for the continued use of the official/foreign language as the primary and ultimate medium of instruction throughout the entire educational system. This view refers to substractive and early-exit bilingual education models; and (2) The second view argues that the viewpoint above reflects the colonial vision of Africa which should not and can no longer be the vision for contemporary Africa. It advocates for the use of mother tongues or familiar languages as primary media of instruction and for the gradual introduction of the official/foreign language throughout the education system. This view refers to late exit and additive bilingual education models. As a result of this research, there is convincing evidence to argue for the second approach: the use of mother tongue (often an African language), i.e. a language familiar to the child upon school entry, as the natural medium of instruction in all African schools. This volume contains the following chapters: (1) Background and history--language politics and planning in Africa (Ekkehard Wolff); (2) Theory and practice--language education models in Africa: research, design, decision-making and outcomes (Kathleen Heugh); (3) Teaching practices--teaching in a familiar language (Hassana Alidou and Birgit Brock-Utne); (4) Active students--learning through a language they master (Birgit Brock-Utne and Hassana Alidou); (5) Use of African languages for literacy: conditions, factors and processes in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Tanzania and Zambia (Hassana Alidou); (6) Cost implications of the provision of mother-tongue and strong bilingual models of education in Africa (Kathleen Heugh); (7) Publications in African languages and the development of bilingual education (Yaya Satina Diallo); and (8) Promise and pitfalls--A commercial view of publishing in African languages (Peter Reiner). Mother-tongue and bilingual education programmes in Africa are appended. A glossary is included. Individual chapters contain footnotes. (Contains 26 tables and 5 figures.)
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. Feldbrunnenstrasse 58, 20148 Hamburg, Germany. Tel: +49-40-4480410; Fax: +49-40-4107723; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) (Germany); Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) (Tunisia)
Identifiers - Location: Africa