International Review of Education

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 29–45 | Cite as

Language of instruction in Tanzania: Why are research findings not heeded?

Article

Abstract

The issue of language of instruction (LOI) and its effects on education in Tanzanian secondary education has been widely researched since the early 1980s. In 2009, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training proposed a new education and training policy that allows English to be used as LOI from nursery school to tertiary education. The proposed policy goes against what researchers in this area have recommended over the years. In the light of the proposed policy, the author of this article felt the need to review studies done on LOI in Tanzania from 1974 to date, aiming to eliminate or greatly reduce the negative effects of the policy on education in Tanzania. Quoting examples, the paper demonstrates students’ levels of proficiency in English; suggests reasons why governmental policy has over time ignored research findings; and recommends as well as proposes the way forward.

Keywords

Language of instruction (LOI) Code-switching Code-mixing English language Kiswahili Bilingual education Tanzania 

Résumé

La langue d’enseignement en Tanzanie : pourquoi ne pas tenir compte des résultats de recherches ? – La question de la langue d’instruction et de ses conséquences sur l’éducation dans l’enseignement secondaire en Tanzanie fait l’objet de nombreuses études depuis le début des années 1980. En 2009, le ministère de l’enseignement général et de la formation professionnelle a proposé une nouvelle politique d’éducation et de formation, qui permet d’utiliser l’anglais comme langue d’instruction de l’école maternelle à l’enseignement supérieur. Cette politique va néanmoins à l’encontre des recommandations émises depuis des années par les chercheurs dans le domaine. À la lumière de ce document, l’auteure de l’article a estimé nécessaire de recenser les études réalisées sur la langue d’enseignement en Tanzanie depuis 1974, qui visent à éliminer ou à réduire sensiblement les effets négatifs de la politique éducative dans le pays. À l’appui d’exemples, elle révèle les niveaux de maîtrise de l’anglais chez les élèves, avance les raisons pour lesquelles la politique gouvernementale a jusqu’ici ignoré les résultats scientifiques, enfin recommande et propose des solutions pour l‘avenir.

Zusammenfassung

Unterrichtssprache in Tansania: Warum finden Forschungsergebnisse keine Beachtung? – Das Thema Unterrichtssprache (LOI = language of instruction) und deren Auswirkungen auf die Sekundarbildung in Tansania wird seit Anfang der 1980er-Jahre breit erforscht. Im Jahr 2009 unterbreitete das Bildungsministerium einen neuen Politikvorschlag, nach dem vom Kindergarten bis zur Hochschule Englisch als LOI zugelassen werden sollte. Dieser Vorschlag läuft dem zuwider, was Wissenschaftler auf diesem Gebiet jahrelang empfohlen haben. In Anbetracht dieses Politikvorschlags sah sich die Autorin dieses Artikels genötigt, sich noch einmal mit den Untersuchungen über die LOI in Tansania seit 1974 zu beschäftigen, mit dem Ziel, die negativen Folgen dieser Politik für die Bildung in Tansania auszuschalten oder deutlich zu verringern. In diesem Beitrag werden die englischen Sprachkenntnisse von Schülerinnen und Schülern anhand von Beispielen demonstriert. Es werden mögliche Gründe aufgezeigt, weshalb die Regierung die Forschungsergebnisse in all den Jahren ignoriert hat, und es werden Vorschläge gemacht und Empfehlungen gegeben, wie weiter vorzugehen ist.

Resumen

La lengua de instrucción en Tanzania: ¿por qué no se tienen en cuenta los resultados de las investigaciones? – El tema de la lengua de instrucción (LI) y sus efectos sobre la educación en la enseñanza secundaria de Tanzania ha sido ampliamente investigado desde principios de los 1980. En el 2009, el Ministro de Educación y Formación Profesional propuso una nueva política de educación y formación profesional que permita que el inglés sea usado como LI desde la enseñanza preescolar hasta la educación terciaria. La política propuesta se opone a lo que los investigadores de esta área han estado recomendado a lo largo de estos años. A la luz de la política que se propone, la autora de este artículo vio la necesidad de revisar los estudios que se realizaron sobre la LI en Tanzania desde 1974 hasta la fecha con el fin de eliminar o reducir gran parte de los efectos negativos de la política de la educación en ese país. Citando ejemplos, indica en este trabajo los niveles de conocimiento del inglés de los estudiantes, sugiere cuáles serían las razones por las que las políticas gubernamentales ignoraron los resultados de las investigaciones durante todo este tiempo, y recomienda y propone los caminos a seguir.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Foreign Languages and LinguisticsUniversity of Dar es SalaamDar es SalaamTanzania

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