Education policies regarding language of instruction are hotly debated in countries where the population speaks multiple languages, including English. On the one hand, there is research to suggest that educating students in their mother tongue results in improved educational outcomes because it facilitates understanding of new concepts and strengthens affective measures such as self-esteem, identity, motivation and creativity. On the other hand, some argue that mother tongue education disadvantages students in some contexts, particularly where languages are not sufficiently developed to express modern concepts in fields such as mathematics and science. It is therefore important to investigate the benefits and challenges of language of instruction policies on a case-by-case basis since education is never conducted in a vacuum; rather, the effects of educational policies are necessarily influenced by broader structural forces and individuals’ lived experiences. This paper uses qualitative and quantitative data from the 2010 Young Lives school survey to examine the arguments around language of instruction in the Ethiopian context.
Vujich, D. Young Lives Working Paper 108. Policy and Practice onLanguage of Instruction in Ethiopian Schools. Findings from the Young Lives School Survey. Young Lives, Department of International Development at the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK (2013) 32 pp. ISBN 978-1-909403-21-5