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National language and book policies

This page provides links to language and book policies in developing countries, and research on the impact of national book policies for content creators and publishers.

The Basic Education Act No 14 of 2013 (Kenya)

This basic act enables the promotion and regulation of free and compulsory basic education. It also provides for accredition, registration and management of institutions of basic education.

The Language Policy for Schools in Namibia

After Independence in March 1990, the then Ministry of Education, Youth, Culture and Sport began reviewing the language policy for schools. The agreed policy was issued in the document Education and Culture in Namibia: The Way Forward to 1996 in 1991.

The policy goals include:

- The seven-year primary education cycle should enable learners to acquire reasonable competence in English, the official language, and be prepared for English medium instruction throughout the secondary cycle.

- Education should promote the language and cultural identity of learners through the use of mother tongue as medium of instruction in Grades 1-3 and the teaching of mother tongue throughout formal education. Grade 4 is a transitional year in which the mother tongue plays a supportive role in the teaching. Mother tongue should be taught as a subject.

- Schools must offer not less than two languages as subjects from Grade 1.

The Plurality of literacy and its Implications for Policies and Programmes: UNESCO Position Paper

Literacy lies at the heart of UNESCO’s concerns and makes up an essential part of its mandate, being entwined with the right to education set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. These concerns have to do with promoting the meaningful acquisition and application of literacy in laying the basis for positive social transformation, justice, and personal and collective freedom. Despite tremendous progress made over the past 55 years, universal literacy remains a major challenge for both developing and developed countries in terms of commitment and action. There are over 800 million illiterate adults in today’s world – a fi gure projected to remain unchanged in 2015 if current trends continue unabated. The present deliberation on literacy as a plural notion and its implications for policy and programme development represents a contribution towards helping solve this stubborn problem

The impact of language policy and practice on children's learning: Evidence from Eastern and Southern Africa

The language environment in the Eastern and Southern Region of Africa is rich and dynamic. Many African languages, including Amharic, Kirundi, Swahili, isiZulu, Kinyarwanda, Chichewa, Luganda, Kikuyu, Malagasy, Oromo, and Somali are spoken as mother tongues by millions of African citizens. Some may also serve as regional and national languages. In addition to these large language communities, are many hundreds of smaller and less wellrecognized African languages. Layered over this richly diverse linguistic environment are a handful of international languages, introduced to the continent as colonial languages and now more or less integrated into the language ecology of the continent.

The attitudes of Eastern and Southern Africa’s citizens towards their local languages are largely positive. More than 80 per cent of the region’s 400+ languages are used regularly in their speech communities and passed on to the children of those communities (Lewis, Simons and Fennig 2014). Though colonial rule resulted in the presence of prestigious international languages in many national systems, those languages have not replaced African mother tongues in the lives of the great majority of citizens of the region.

Kenya: The impact of language policy and practice on children's learning

National language policy mandates use of the language of the catchment area as the medium of instruction in Grades 1 to 3; in practice, however, English is used extensively as the medium of instruction even in Grade 1 classrooms. The national education agendas are motivated by economic progress and social advantage.

The Language Policy of Education in Ghana: A Critical Look at the English-Only Language Policy of Education

The language policy of education in Ghana has had a checkered history since the colonial era. In May 2002, Ghana promulgated a law, which mandates the use of English language as the medium of instruction from primary one (grade one) to replace the use of a Ghanaian language as the medium of instruction for the first three years of schooling, and English as the medium of instruction from primary four (grade four). This new policy has attracted a lot of criticism from a section of academics, politicians, educators, traditional rulers, and the general populace. This paper looks briefly at the historical development of educational language policy in Ghana, examines what necessitated the change in policy, and responds to issues raised. The paper then argues for the reversal of the new policy and proposes the implementation of a late-exit transitional bilingual education model.

National Report 2012: The State of Literacy Teaching and Learning in the Foundation Phase

No one would dispute that South African schools are performing below expectations. Diagnosis of the reasons for the inefficiency of South African schools, compared with more poorly resourced systems in the Southern and Eastern African subcontinent, is the first step to improving the quality of learning outcomes.

The Incremental Introduction of African Languages in South African Schools Draft Policy

In 2017, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) said that 27% of public schools nationally are implementing the Incremental Introduction of African Languages (IIAL) in Grades 1 and 2 in 2017 despite challenges, which included an inadequate number of willing and competent teachers as well as negative attitudes and misconceptions about African languages being inferior in the global scheme. The target is to reach 3 558 public schools across all grades by 2029.


Language in Education Policy (South Africa)

The Language in Education Policy is based on recognition of cultural diversity and the promotion of multilingualism. This policy support the additive multilingualism approach. The Language in Education Policy specifically recognizes diversity beyond language, by supporting languages used for religious purposes, and South African Sign Language.

Language in schools – Basic Education Rights Handbook (South Africa)

Section 29(2) of the Constitution provides that every learner has the right to receive a basic education in the language of his or her choice, where this is reasonably practicable. This right is an important recognition of equality and diversity, and the need to depart from a history in which education – and language in education, in particular – was used as a vehicle to implement and strengthen apartheid. Through this right, learners’ diversity and individuality is recognised, and this can facilitate the important objective of unlocking their potential.