On the Notion and Implications of the Concept of Mother Tongue in Literacy Education in a Multilingual Context

The Case of Zambia
  • Mubanga E. Kashoki
Part of the Topics in Language and Linguistics book series (TLLI)

Abstract

In 1966, in the aftermath of national independence from colonial rule in 1964, the Zambian government enacted, as a temporary phase of a comprehensive Education Act, a policy that prescribed the English inherited from the former British colonial administration as the sole medium of instruction at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of formal education, thereby breaking away totally from previous practice. Since then the policy has been the subject of sustained informed debate and scholarly research (Africa, 1980; M. M. Chishimba, 1980, 1981, 1984; P. C. Chishimba, 1979; Higgs, 1979, 1980; Kashoki, 1979; McAdam, 1973; Ministry of Higher Education, 1984; Shana, 1980; Sharma, 1973). In the light of this rich proliferation of literature on the implications of imparting early literacy to children by means of a foreign/second language, it is unnecessary to extend the same debate in the present chapter. Instead, it is more profitable to turn our attention to an equally intriguing topic and consider from various vantage points whether the now almost sacrosanct notion of the imperative need to impart literacy skills through the mother tongue does not invite serious second thoughts. In more direct terms, does the concept of the mother tongue as a sine qua non in the imparting of literacy skills in both early formal and nonformal (such as adult literacy) education not generate more problems than it solves? Isn’t there, therefore, a timely need to reexamine the issue to ascertain its far-reaching implications, especially in the context of multilingual societies?

Keywords

Language Policy Literacy Skill Mother Tongue Adult Literacy Literacy Education 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mubanga E. Kashoki
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The Copperbelt UniversityKitweZambia
  2. 2.University of ZambiaNdolaZambia

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