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ERIC Number: EJ1177495
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0726-2655
Language, Literacy, Power and Democracy in Africa
Brock-Utne, Birgit
Education and Society, v33 n2 p5-24 2015
The May 2013 Report of the High Level Panel, established by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2012 to advise on the global development framework beyond 2015 underscored that rising inequity is a growing worldwide concern. The high level panel refers to a study of 28 countries in Africa which found that more than one out of every three pupils (23 million primary school children) could not read or do basic math after multiple years of schooling. No mention is made of the language in which the children could not read or do basic math. It is most likely a foreign language, a language children do not normally speak or hear around them. The language of instruction is a powerful mechanism for social stratification, increasing inequality. In my article I devote some time to a discussion of the language of instruction policy in Africa and the problems it creates for the African school-child. But I first and foremost concentrate on the effect of the language policy in Africa on the creation and sustainability of a living democracy including free elections, freedom of the press and the preservation of human rights. The languages used at the highest educational level, in the parliaments of Africa; the languages used by the leaders to communicate with their voters, used in the courts and in the press bear testimony to the inequity in most African countries and the power of the African elites and their international allies.
James Nicholas Publishers. PO Box 5179, South Melbourne, VIC 3205 Australia. Tel: +61-39-696-5545; Fax: +61-39-699-2040; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Africa
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A