Optimizing 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
Evidence-based recommendations for language-in-education policies and language use in education are made to support policy-makers and other stakeholders. The focus of the research was on scientific and empirical evidence pertaining to language use and its implications on the quality of learning and education. Existing educational programmes and related language policies were critically assessed. The researchers gave priority to studies that are supported by sound theoretical and empirical evidence, according to greater weight to independent evaluations while consulting and paying due attention to internal evaluations including those commissioned and remunerated by the programmes’ stakeholders.
This study examines several factors that account for the successes and failures of bilingual and multilingual education programmes in Africa. These factors include linguistic, technical, financial, institutional, political, social and economic issues. Additionally, key elements contributing to quality education – aspects of cost-effectiveness, equity and equality – are taken into consideration.
Initially, the researchers looked at a selection of countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia); further countries were included during the research when the research team was able to access additional case studies. For an overview of the countries and programmes reviewed, see the Appendix. Each expert selected one or two themes based on the team’s joint analysis of which issues would need to be addressed. Furthermore, two African publishers from Guinea and Namibia share their experiences and strategies for publishing in African languages.