Essay On Language In Africa

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The continent of Africa has anywhere between 1500-2000 spoken languages (One World Nations)-- in Nigeria alone, there are over 520 languages (Chepkemoi). In Kenya, for example, school is taught in English (Kioko). Children who live in more urban areas, might already know some English when they begin school, but for those who live in poor, rural areas, know only their mother tongue. “Speaking a language that is not spoken in the classroom frequently holds back a child’s learning, especially for those living in poverty” (UNESCO 1). This raises the question “What language should the African Countries teach their youth?” There is a stigma behind local and regional languages inside of Africa: a sense of denial that languages cannot be effectively…show more content…
More often than not, this type of education has been the cause of native children dropping out of school and experiencing psychological trauma, resulting in their failure to learn to read and write" (Deicat 79). A quick look at the CIA’s Factbook- an online resource with information on the majority of the countries- reveals that Kiswahili and English are the official languages of Tanzania. Yet, interestingly enough, Kiswahili is the language used in their government (UNICEF). In Language Crisis in Tanzania: the Myth of English versus Education, they note that, “With Kiswahili as the essential language of government and the language of primary schools, the majority of the Tanzanian population has very little use for English. Yet English, used by 5 percent of the population, continues to be retained as the most important vehicle of instruction in formal educational institutions” (Roy-Campbell, Oorro 4). Similarly, Rwanda teaches Kinyarwanda (their official language) in primary school, before switching to English (another official language) for the remainder of their education (US Embassy in Rwanda). Further research revealed very similar, if not the same, results on language policies for the other African
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