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Native Language versus National Language Literacy [microform] : Choices and Dilemmas in School Instruction Medium / Victoria Baker
Bib ID 5613715
Format BookBook, MicroformMicroform, OnlineOnline
Baker, Victoria
Online Versions
Description [S.l.] : Distributed by ERIC Clearinghouse, 1996 
12 p. 

The notion of national unity through a single official language is defended by policy makers, who point out the practical and financial drawbacks involved in teaching in the vernacular in multilingual nations. Findings from grassroots-level case studies in Senegal, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Malawi, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka attest to the complexity of the participants' perceptions and desires. Additional comparative data from other countries echo these studies and underscore the recurring themes of usefulness and social advancement on the one hand, and national unity and progress on the other. A colossal gap exists between what theorists proclaim as ideal, and the real-life empirical world of schools in very poor multilingual countries. Practical problems of teaching in the mother tongue are those of alphabet, transcriptions, phonetics, paucity of vocabulary, lack of resources for programs and trained teachers, and a shortage of textbooks and other printed matter in the new literate languages. The diverse case studies tend to show that parents and pupils are satisfied with school instruction being in a dominant language if they see that dominant language as a possible vehicle for social advancement. The Zimbabwe model seems to work for many rural schools: basic literacy in the first three grades in the native language, especially if there is printed reading material available. When the numerous variables and viewpoints are considered, "usefulness" emerges as the most important factor in predicting whether a choice of literacy instruction medium will be successful. (Contains 11 references.) (NKA)


Availability: Thirty-three selected papers from this conference are available on the "Literacy Online" Web site:

ERIC Note: Paper presented at the World Conference on Literacy (Philadelphia, PA, March 12-15, 1996). For other papers from this conference, see CE 075 168, 171, 173, 180, 183 and CS 012 996 and CS 013 002.

May also be available online. Address as at 14/8/18:

Reproduction Microfiche. [Washington D.C.]: ERIC Clearinghouse microfiches : positive. 
Subjects Case Studies.  |  Comparative Analysis.  |  Educational Policy.  |  Educational Research.  |  Elementary Education.  |  Foreign Countries.  |  Language of Instruction.  |  Language Usage.  |  Literacy.  |  Multilingualism.  |  Theory Practice Relationship.  |  Educational Issues Native Language  |  Vernacular Education
Form/genre Opinion Papers.  |  Reports, Research.  |  Speeches/Meeting Papers.
Available From ERIC 


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