A three-tier citizenship: Can the state in Tanzania guarantee linguistic human rights?

Abstract

This paper explores how the concept of linguistic citizenship can be applied to the Tanzanian situation in terms of the delivery of bilingual education as well as addressing issues of equity and quality in education. It starts by a brief overview of how the concepts ‘linguistic human rights’ and ‘linguistic citizenship’ are theorized. It then goes on to show that in the Tanzanian context the ‘linguistic human rights’ paradigm cannot adequately address the concerns of speakers of marginalized languages. The paper argues that all efforts to guarantee linguistic human rights in Tanzania have so far been top-down and have to a large extent failed. The paper further argues that it is the people who can empower themselves by giving value to their marginalized languages. This valorisation will make education meaningful in people's struggle towards socio-economic development. The paper discusses in particular the role which African languages play in raising achievement in African education and highlights the importance of research into educational language use and persuasive communication of this research in increasing this role. Finally the paper emphasises the role of advocacy and the increasing status of African languages in society in the development of mother-tongue medium education.

Citation

International Journal of Educational Development (2010) [doi:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2010.06.007]

A three-tier citizenship: Can the state in Tanzania guarantee linguistic human rights?

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