Dear MLE Friends,
The World Bank's new education strategy was published earlier this week. For the first time it includes a statement on the language of instruction. In the section on children between the ages of 6 and 8 it states: "Children in these age groups benefit from the instructional use of their mother tongue, combined with instruction in the dominant language.".
The phrasing seems a bit weak is it leaves space for early exit strategies (meaning a quick transition to the language of wider communication). A study like the one from Kathleen Heugh "Optimizing Learning and Education in Africa – the Language Factor" suggests that only programmes that spend several years in the mother tongue book the success needed.
Anyway, it is good that the World Bank recognises the value of the use of mother tongue as language of instruction. Thanks to Dave Pearson for the tip.
Karsten van Riezen
Education Consultant, SIL Int.
SIL, South Asia Group
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