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Title:Fimbo ya mbali haiui nyoka: the question of language and education in Tanzania
Author(s):Mlay, Joshua
Advisor(s):Dill, Brian J.
Department / Program:Center for African Studies
Discipline:African Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Lanugage of Instruction
Abstract:Despite gaining political independence five decades ago, for much of sub-Saharan Africa, it is not yet uhuru in terms of educational or economic independence. The objective of implementing adequate language policies for education and development unfortunately remains unfulfilled. This state of affairs persists in the face of decades of research on language of instruction that argues in the case of post-colonial societies, the use of colonial languages in education often leads to ineffective pedagogical practices. Furthermore, these studies attribute the low academic achievement of students (at all levels) and the underdevelopment of these societies to ineffective language policies. The primary objective of this thesis is to study the relationship between language, education, and development. This study problematizes the language of instruction used for post-primary education in the East African nation of Tanzania, to gauge whether the language used for instruction aids or hinders the educational process i.e., the production and reproduction of knowledge, dialogue between the instructor and student, and critical thinking. Additionally, it examines the extent to which the language selected corresponds with the government’s goal of developing a nation with a high quality of education at all levels; a nation, which produces the quantity and quality of educated people sufficiently equipped with the requisite knowledge to solve the society's problems. This study used an interdisciplinary approach, and is supported theoretically by various aspects of sociology, education, and sociolinguistics. The critical assumption of this study is that education in any society should be instructed in a language that both the learner and teacher understand well. This is a minimum requirement for effective instruction and communication to take place in the classroom. Furthermore, the language of instruction should be a language, which is accessible to the majority of the population. This facilitates educational democracy, the generation of knowledge and its dissemination to as many people as possible. This corresponds with the concept of mother tongue education, a concept that is widely accepted and viewed as a basic human and linguistic right. Considering the evidence and literature, this study makes two conclusions. First, that Kiswahili rather than English is the most appropriate and logical choice vis-à-vis the language of instruction in Tanzania. Secondly, since both languages are critical to the prospects of the nation, English should be taught as a subject and not used as the language of instruction.
Issue Date:2014-09-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 JOSHUA MTENGESE MLAY
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08

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