Should African schools teach more local languages? | Africa | DW

Africa south of the Sahara is home to around 2,000 different languages. They’re spoken at home, on the street and perhaps on the local radio and TV stations, but very few have made it into the classroom.

The languages taught and spoken at school are relics of the colonial era and many children, especially those in rural settings, enter the all-English, French or Portuguese language schools with little prior knowledge.

It’s counterproductive, say educational experts. “If you want to find a measure to prevent children from learning, you have already found that by teaching in a language that they don’t hear around them,” says Birgit Brock-Utne, a Norwegian education expert. She is currently based at Witwatersrand University in South Africa as a visiting professor. “Our research shows very…

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