Exploring the implementation of mother tongue as a medium of instruction in lower primary school. A case of a rural public school in Rarieda sub-County, Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Prof. Jacob Marriote Ngwaru

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Ms. Mary Anyango Oluga


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Using mother tongue as a language in education is the best strategy for realizing quality education for young children. This study sought to explore how mother tongue as a medium of instruction is implemented in lower primary. Children first come to school with mother tongue which they understand and this can be instrumental in teaching. The study was conducted in a rural public school in Rarieda Sub-county, Western Kenya. The study adopted qualitative research approach and case study design. Purposive and stratified random sampling was used to identify the research site and recruit participants. The participants included the head teacher, lower primary class teachers, pupils and parents. Data collection methods used included one-on-one interview, focus group discussions, lesson observations and document analysis. Findings from the study suggest that schools are not adhering to language-in-education policy which recommends the use of mother tongue as a medium of instruction in lower primary in rural areas. Instead many schools have adopted English as a medium of instruction. Furthermore stakeholders are not supporting the use of mother tongue in schools. The study, therefore recommends that there is need for the policy makers and curriculum developers to follow up the process of implementing the use of mother tongue as a medium of instruction in lower primary. Findings from this study may be relevant to language-in-education issues in Kenya and many other African countries who deny children to learn in a language they are familiar with. The study is likely to provide a lens through which stakeholders can review their perceptions concerning mother tongue as a medium of instruction. The study could also be used by Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development to prepare instructional materials to support mother tongue education. The Ministry of Education can use the findings to enforce the implementation of language-in-education policy. Finally future research involving this topic, based on larger sample and involving other stakeholders should be undertaken.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library