Why and how Africa should invest in African languages and multilingual education: an evidence- and practice-based policy advocacy brief

Author(s): Ouane, Adama; Glanz, Christine

Organisation(s): UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning; Association for the Development of African Education

Publisher(s): UNESCO-UIL

Date: 2010

Pages: 71 p.

In the 21st century, learning is at the heart of the modern world's endeavours to become a knowledge economy. It is the key to empowering individuals to be today’s world producers and consumers of knowledge. It is essential in enabling people to become critical citizens and to attain self-fulfilment. It is a driver of economic competitiveness as well as community development. Good quality learning is not only about becoming more competent, polyvalent and productive but also about nurturing diversity and being well rooted in one’s culture and traditions, while adapting to the unknown and being able to live with others. This kind of learning entails developing curiosity and responsible risk-taking. This advocacy brief seeks to show the pivotal role of languages in achieving such learning. It aims in particular to dispel prejudice and confusion about African languages, and exposes the often hidden attempt to discredit them as being an obstacle to learning. It draws on research and practice to argue what kind of language policy in education would be most appropriate for Africa.

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