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Local Languages of Instruction as a Right in Education for Sustainable Development in Africa

Author(s): Zehlia Babaci-Wilhite

Journal: Sustainability
ISSN 2071-1050

Volume: 5;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 1994;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: local language | rights in education | curriculum | language of instruction | Africa

Today’s educational challenges in Africa have their roots in the colonial education system. The article explores the consequences of linguistic choices for quality education, self-determined development and children’s rights in education. The analysis centers on a case study of a curriculum change in Zanzibar in which English has replaced Kiswahili as the language of instruction in the last years of primary school in Mathematics and Science subjects. The case study is grounded in an extensive review of theory and practices on the relationship between language of instruction, learning and rights in education. The field study researched the reasons behind the curriculum change, the extent to which schools were prepared for the change, and the consequences of the change for the learning environment. The article, therefore suggests that for the 21st century, Africa should place emphasis on rights policies that promotes not only access, but also inclusion and quality education.
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