Botswana is set to introduce 11 new local languages in schools to be used as mediums of instruction, as from January 2022 for the purposes of inclusivity and equity, an official said Wednesday.
Botswana, which has been using only Setswana and English, as mediums of instruction in its schools for many years, recognizes the importance of introducing local languages in schools for purposes of inclusivity and equity, Botswana’s Minister of Basic Education, Fidelis Molao, said when addressing community leaders at a consultative meeting in Francistown, Botswana’s second largest city.
Molao said the introduction of these languages is to be realized through the creation of an enabling framework by way of developing the Botswana Languages Policy in Education saying a draft language policy in education has been so far developed with a view of reforming education.
“The main intent of the Botswana Languages Policy in Education is to promote language development and quality education that is accessible, equitable and relevant to all learners,” said Molao.
According to Molao, the policy will also serve as a democratic and unifying factor for a proud and self-respecting nation and promote languages’ development and facilitate access to relevant quality education by all learners. The Draft Policy is expected to facilitate systematic transition from home to school using mother tongue for instruction.
“It will furthermore provide a framework to guide the development and use of different languages not only as medium of instruction but also as subjects in the long term,” he said.
He said research has demonstrated that teaching children in their mother tongue or local language, during their formative years, creates a crucial foundation for their conceptual, cognitive, and affective development.
The 11 languages to be introduced are Sheyeyi, ThiMbukushu, Ikalanga, Shakgalagari, Chikuhane (Sesubiya), IsiNdebele, Afrikaans, Naro (Sesarwa), Shona, Otjiherero and Sign Language.
* Xinhua Agency