Language and education in Africa: a fresh approach to the debates on language, education, and cultural identity
Decolonial visions like those of Vansina and Prah hold that old cultural traditions in Africa have been destroyed, but that new African ways of interpreting the world are emerging. Education has a key role to play in this regard. As Prah, Wolff, and others have argued, such education must be based on African languages and values. 

Using a quantitative comparative analysis, this study shows that maintaining former colonial languages as a medium of instruction will become impossible to sustain. Over the next decade, African countries will have to transition to using African languages. 

The choice of which languages to use has vexed researchers and policymakers. The study points to a new route out of this conundrum. It shows how, all over the world, designed languages serve speakers of several discerned languages. Six case studies examine practical policy options in Africa. 

African languages in education will bolster the new, decolonised cultural traditions already taking shape on the continent. 

Dr Bert van Pinxteren started his career in the anti-apartheid movement, at the Holland Committee on Southern Africa, where he was responsible for recruiting Dutch teachers for newly-independent Zimbabwe. Since then, he has worked for various NGOs, including Friends of the Earth International and ActionAid Netherlands. He has lived and worked in Kenya and worked with many African grassroots groups. 

Bert has an MA in Adult Education and Community Organisation from the University of Amsterdam. He also has a Master in African Studies and obtained his PhD from Leiden University in 2021.



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Bert van Pinxteren
Afrika Studiecentrum