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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The challenges of mother-tongue education in Ethiopia: the case of North Omo area
Author:Woldemariam, HirutISNI
Periodical:Language Matters: Studies in the Languages of Africa
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:languages of instruction
mother tongues
Abstract:It is a well-known fact that the best medium for teaching a child is his/her mother tongue. Implementing mother-tongue education is not, however, a trouble-free task for a country that is multilingual, multi-ethnic and culturally pluralistic. Mother-tongue education has been practised in Ethiopia since 1992. Before then Amharic, the federal working language, served as the only language of education in a nation where more than 85 languages are spoken. At present, about twenty languages are involved in the school system across Ethiopia. However, multidimensional challenges face the endeavour. These include the scarcity of financial and human resources, multiplicity of languages and dialects, inconsistent strategies employed to handle the situation, sceptical attitudes of the society towards mother-tongue education, and pedagogic problems. The problem is especially complex in regions that comprise an assortment of ethnolinguistic groups. The situation in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional States (SNNPS), particularly the area formerly known as 'North Omo zone', which is the main focus in this paper, is an instance of this complexity. This paper discusses the problems and challenges facing mother-tongue education in the subregion and concludes with some suggested ways to ameliorate or even to avert them. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]