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Millions of schoolchildren in parts of sub-Saharan Africa are silently sitting in classrooms, having difficulty adhering to lessons and not progressing in their teaching due to the insistence that all lessons should be taught in English, say the authors of the new report.

The results published today as Fr. policy description from the Bata University Institute for Political Studies (IPR) and the UK Government’s Girls ’Education Challenge (GEC) emphasize that dependence on English as the main‘ language of instruction ’in many schools affects girls most acutely.

Based on research conducted in Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sierra Leone and Egypt, the authors conclude that many children lack basic English skills, which has significant implications for their learning. English is often not practiced or consolidated outside of school, and teachers are also language restricted.

The research team says unfamiliar language of instruction exacerbates existing problems and barriers to education for girls. For example, girls may struggle more than boys because in families the burden of homework often falls on them, which in turn deprives them of the opportunity to work in extracurricular hours in English.

Researchers say that expanding access to education for girls is very important, but now more attention needs to be paid to the quality of this education. Continuing to conduct all English lessons, including math and science, for children who have difficulty understanding, will hold back individual progress and have long-term negative consequences.

To address this issue, their report suggests that more needs to be done in the short term to enhance teachers ’own competence in English to have an impact on students. In the long run, they believe that countries need to review historical decisions about teaching in English and assess the implications of this.

And although English is often the predominant language of instruction, similar criticisms can be made of French and other dominant languages, which are usually defined by former colonial ties.

Lead researcher from the Department of Education at Bath University, Dr Lizzie Milligan, explained: “Many people will not know that in large parts of sub-Saharan Africa school lessons are given exclusively in English to children whose first and sometimes second languages ​​differ as a result. , and overall, our study shows that children have difficulty accessing education.

“Although girls’ education is generally high on the agenda for politicians, very little attention has been paid to this particular issue, but it really does matter. Imagine that someone is trying to teach you math or science in a language on “If we really want to make progress in improving educational attainment, we urgently need to address this issue.”

Alicia Mills, senior portfolio advisor at the Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC), added: “Language is a widespread problem, and a large number of girls in GEC projects are educated in one (or more) languages ​​that may not be their first language. .

“Language learning is regularly identified by GEC projects as a barrier for girls, so the program reflects this to mitigate the impact it can have on girls’ ability to access, continue and succeed in education.”

In Rwanda, the team reviewed transitions for primary and secondary school girls. This revealed a decline in the performance of both girls and boys: by the end of primary school (grade 9), half of children do not take English exams. However, among them, girls are more likely to fail than boys.

In groups of girls, they also found clear differences in performance. While some had a good level of English and could make progress, many had difficulty. This included those called “at risk” from financially and physically vulnerable home environments who, they found, were almost completely silent and did not attend school.

Alin Darimana, PhD PhD at the University of Rwanda and a project researcher, said: “Many girls from different parts of Rwanda grow up in societies that already encourage silence every time brothers are present. It affects how girls learn and practice English. in the classroom, also not usually practiced outside of school, given the homework of girls. These issues need to be considered if we want to ensure access to quality education for all students. “

The Bath with the Girls ’Education Challenge team now hopes to explore how language of instruction affects other gender equality priorities, such as empowering women and ending violence against women and girls.

Girls succeed early in the art of language, which may explain STEM’s gender gap in adults

Additional information:
Education for girls and language of instruction: detailed information on politics, DOI: 10.5281 / zenodo.6523434

Citation: Girls’ chances of success in school in sub-Saharan Africa, depending on the language they teach (May 24, 2022), obtained on May 24, 2022 from 05-girls-chance-success -school-sub-saharan.html

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