Teacher education or language policy for ESL learners in southern Africa

Document Type

Book Chapter


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


This paper has been prompted by studies that have shown that learner performance and quality of education in bilingual contexts are persistently under threat from language policy and planning as much as from other factors. Millions of children are missing out on education because they don‘t speak the language used in their schools. In this context the paper argues that language policy issues are indeed teacher education issues in bilingual contexts. It argues that in bilingual contexts the language question should be central to educational planning and policy outcomes and that failure to implement progressive policies or to empower the indigenous languages has been linked to poor educational outcomes in bilingual contexts in Africa, Europe and the Americas. This paper examines the language policy endeavours and the effect they have on educational outcomes in a cluster of Southern African countries of Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The conclusion arrived at is that the cluster countries should embark on reform agendas according to their socio-historical, linguistic and pedagogical situations. Such agendas must be informed by and linked to ideologies of power; politics, history and culture while their schooling and curricula must become the terrain of struggle for legitimate knowledge and culture.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Teacher Education in Modern Era: Trends and Issues