What is it about?

The article unearthed why the policy implementers (teachers) were unable to adhere to the language-in-education policy that stated that at Standard One Setswana should be used as a language of instruction. In rural areas it was difficult for teachers to adhere to the policy because the learners speak different home languages and hear Setswana for the first time at school. Again, the teachers and learners did not have a common language. In urban primary schools, teachers could not use Setswana because learners have been to pre-school and admitted already speaking English and therefore teachers wanted to nurture their English language skills. Again, there were foreigners in urban primary schools who did not speak Setswana and teachers decided to go for the English only policy.

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Why is it important?

Re-think the position of Setswana as a language of instruction at lower primary. At the moment it has been proven that it is difficult for various reasons to use the language and therefore this needs a policy review to consider mother tongue education.

Perspectives

Review Botswana language-in-education policy. Global issues are impacting on the use of the policy. There are immigrants, ethnic minority groups such as San and others who do not speak Setswana as a first language. We cannot impose the language on them at the initial stages of learning. We need to find something to bridge the gap between home and school. - to teach children with a familiar language.

Mrs Eureka B. Mokibelo
University of Botswana

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This page is a summary of: The national language as a language of instruction in Botswana primary schools, Language and Education, May 2014, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/09500782.2014.892126.
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