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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.

Report on the EdTech Hub Sandbox: Radio Program for Early Primary Literacy in the Lango Sub-region September – December 2020

As schools in Uganda closed down in late March 2020 due to Covid-19, Mango Tree Literacy Lab (MTLL) had to reconsider its 2020 work plan. When the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) published its “Framework for the Provision of Continued Learning During the Covid-19 Lockdown in Uganda” and began radio education programs in the Lango Sub-region, MTLL decided to develop our own radio education programming focused on literacy instruction for children in P1-P3, an area of the curriculum that the MoES was not able to address because it required creating materials in multiple local languages. With no dedicated funding for this, MTLL partnered with Radio Q FM, a local radio station, who generously agreed to provide MTLL with one hour every Saturday for no charge.
In May 2020, Mango Tree, together with Ichuli Institute, responded to a call by the EdTech Hub for non-internet education innovations that addressed the Covid-19 crisis. Upon selection to participate, MTLL ran a “Sandbox” (short experimental pilot) in the four districts of Alebtong, Dokolo, Kole and Otuke, in the Northern Uganda Lango sub-region from September to December.

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Case Study on Open Licensing of Early Grade Textbooks in Uganda

This case study tells the story of a small Ugandan NGO’s experience using openly licensed government primers to support early primary literacy. Mango Tree Literacy Lab  (MTLL) believes that African children have the right to read, write and engage with ideas in a language they know and understand. MTLL aspires to work side by side with government to ensure successful implementation of innovative education policies, making mistakes and learning within the constraints of real-world challenges. This case study describes how MTLL began to explore how the open licensing of national literacy materials could be harnessed to print additional copies for schools with insufficient numbers of usable primers.

The Use and Dissemination of Openly Licensed Storybooks and Learning Materials by Mango Tree Literacy Lab, Lira, Uganda

Mango Tree Literacy Lab (MTLL) is a Ugandan NGO that believes that African children have the right to read, write and engage with ideas in a language they know and understand. Since 2010, Mango Tree has been supporting early primary literacy in the Lango Sub-region of northern Uganda. This project case study is on the use and dissemination of openly licensed storybooks and learning materials.This project has provided the opportunity to learn about the impact open licensing could have on the distribution of MTLL's literacy materials as well as experiment with establishing a local market for our storybooks through sales by local vendors.

More information about MTLL’s work can be found on its website, as well as on its Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Good Stories Don’t Grow on Trees: How much does it cost to produce high-quality reading resources?

This presentation was created for the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) workshop in Nairobi on National Book and Reading Policies for Africa from 17th to 19th June 2019. The presentation addresses issues related to the cost of storybook creation and adaptation of storybooks. 

ADEA GBA Report on the Regional Workshop for African Book Industry Stakeholders: 22-25 January, 2018

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), through its Working Group on Books and Learning Materials (WGBLM), teamed up with the Global Book Alliance (GBA) to dialogue with African book industry stakeholders about publishing and use of materials in mother-tongue languages, and to come up with a way forward. The dialogue focused on how to ensure sustainable book provision for children in lower primary schools by improving the creation, production, access, distribution and use of books in local languages.

Seventy key stakeholders in the African book publishing industry, representing eleven Francophone, ten Anglophone, one Lusophone country, as well as twelve representatives of development partners, held a high-level technical meeting to: (i) present the GBA’s mission, vision, objectives, strategies; (ii) strengthen local coordination of major stakeholders (writers, publishers, booksellers, and reading specialists); and (iii) improve local coordination and policy dialogue between governments and book professionals in implementing book provision.

A Landscape Review of Language and Literacy Research in African Contexts

This report addresses key issues based on recent research on language and literacy in the African context, including teacher education, and outlines key findings and recommendations for research and practice based on the review of the literature. The dramatic increase in enrollment of students in the last few decades has led to greater demand for teachers and attention to quality of education, as expressed in the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 and later in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, number 4) in 2015. Quality education is also a priority in the Global Affairs Canada’s new policy on international assistance. Twenty-first-century skills, such as active learning, problem-solving, critical thinking, independent thinking, and information and communication technology (ICT) skills, are key to quality education. Although these skills are often mentioned in the policy documents, there is need for more research on how these can be implemented in practice.

The report is divided into Part I and Part II. Part I reviews focal areas of research and is based on academic articles and reports. Part II presents case studies of policies and teacher education, with a focus on 21st century skills, from six countries associated with CODE’s work in Africa: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. These case studies provide insight into the key issues discussed in Part I of the report.

School Language Policy, Research and Practice in Malawi

Malawi has over 16 local languages. However, not all these languages are used as school languages in the education system. The illiteracy rate in Malawi is one of the highest in Southern Africa at 58% (UNICEF: 1993). This paper discusses Malawi's school language policy. It also discusses the manner in which this policy has been implemented and some of the findings on the current school language policy that were obtained from the research which IEQlMalawi carried out in 1999 in 65 schools in Mangochi and Balaka districts of the Southern Malawi.

The Language Policy, Cultural Rights and the Law in Botswana

For many years, linguists, educators and other academics have been calling upon the government of Botswana to develop a language policy which will recognize and empower all the ethnic groups represented in the country. It was little known that a colonial language policy was embedded within the Chieftainship Act of 1933, which recognizes the Tswana-speaking ethnic groups as the only tribes, with sovereignty over land, and only they have the right to designate government-recognized chiefs who can be admitted in the House of Chiefs and consulted on issues of importance. This policy was conducive to linguistic and cultural assimilation of other diverse groups into Tswanadom. The arrangement was meant to build a united and proud nation with one language, one culture and one flag. As a result of the statutory recognition of the Tswana-speaking groups, Setswana is the only local language that is used in national life and English as the official language. This paper presents the language policy in Botswana within this legal framework, the impact of the policy on linguistic and cultural rights and the long-standing agitation of the unrecognized groups for such rights. Agitation strategies include parliamentary motions, formation of linguistic associations, litigations and the engagement of United Nations procedures. While there may be no new and progressive language policy written in the near future, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel in opening up to the use of other languages and cultures in education and other social domains.

Educational Textbook Procurement in Developing Countries: How to get the best textbooks and create a national book culture

Every citizen has the right to education and culture. Their books must reflect their values and culture and must be relevant to their living circumstances. Only skilled local authors can address such needs. And only a publishing industry based on a multitude of local, autonomous, entrepreneurial publishers can develop the content that gives a nation a distinctive voice, to preserve and develop its own national identity.

Educational publishing is a key sector. Around the world, a healthy, vibrant and dynamic local publishing industry is unthinkable without an equally healthy, vibrant and dynamic educational publishing sector. Its health forms the economic basis for publishing as a whole. Throughout the developing world, local publishing is often threatened by misguided policies.

Language Education Policy (LEP) by World Regions

This page provides information on Language Education Policies for numerous countries.