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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Role of Languages of Minority Groups for Literacy and Education in Africa
Author:Van Dyken, Julia R.
Periodical:African Studies Review
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:minority groups
indigenous languages
languages of instruction
mother tongues
Education and Oral Traditions
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/524185
Abstract:In August 1989, a UNESCO seminar was convened in Lagos, Nigeria, focusing on the role of languages of minority groups as languages of instruction. Representatives came from approximately fifteen countries and five continents, with the majority being from within Africa. Reporting on this UNESCO event, this paper highlights the problems of illiteracy in Africa where one finds the world's highest rate of illiteracy. The paper first describes the unique nature of Africa's problems with illiteracy. This provides the background for the pleas by African seminar delegates that today's children be allowed to learn in their respective mother tongues. Brief reports from three countries (Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Cameroon) show the obstacles to the use of languages of minority groups in formal education. Still, it is clear that eradication of illiteracy cannot happen unless literacy opportunities are offered in the mother tongue. This means that effective literacy and formal education bridges must be built from mother tongues to second and third languages. Bibliogr., including the Lagos Seminar Documents, notes.