The advancement of education

Most Africans grow up in a multi-lingual environment, but government education policies tend not to reflect this diversity: they favour the official language, which is usually European, as the language of instruction from the first day of primary school. The alternative is the principle of ‘first language first’, that is, that education is most effective when it begins with the mother tongue at an early age and gradually transitions to the official, international language later on.

Governments that are persuaded by this alternative are asking for help to promote the mother tongue in the formal education sector. Likewise, local NGOs need technical support as they encourage literacy efforts in the non-formal sector among those who have never had the opportunity to go to school, or who have left school early. The priority is to train the linguistically disadvantaged, multiplying skills and building capacity for sustainable language development.