ERIC Number: EJ975158
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
Language Policy and Science: Could Some African Countries Learn from Some Asian Countries?
International Review of Education, v58 n4 p481-503 Aug 2012
This article deals with the fact that most children in Africa are taught in a language neither they nor their teachers master, resulting in poor education outcomes. While there are also donor interests and donor competition involved in retaining ex-colonial languages, as well as an African elite that may profit from this system, one of the main reasons why teaching in ex-colonial languages persists lies in the fact that a large proportion of the general public still believes that the best way to learn a foreign language is to have it as a language of instruction. By contrast, research studies conducted in Africa, as well as examples from Asian countries such as Sri Lanka and Malaysia, have shown that children actually learn mathematics and science much better in local and familiar languages. Though the recent World Bank Education Strategy policy paper is entitled "Learning for All," it does not specify which language learning should take place in. A claim one often hears in countries of so-called Anglophone Africa is that English is the language of science and technology, and that teaching these subjects through English (instead of teaching English as a subject in its own right as a foreign language) is best. The monolingual island of Zanzibar is in fact about to reintroduce English as the language of instruction in maths and science from grade 5 onwards in primary school. The author of this paper suggests that when it comes to language policy, some African and some Asian countries could learn from each other.
Descriptors: Language Planning, Second Language Learning, Language of Instruction, Foreign Countries, Grade 5, Educational Policy, African Languages, Mathematics Instruction, Science Education, Educational Strategies, English (Second Language)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Africa; Asia; Tanzania