Language for education and national development: The case of ex-colonial languages vis-à-vis indigenous african languages

  • G Chiuye


The use of indigenous African languages in official circles has largely been determined by Africa's contact with the west. In particular this has been the usage of English, French and Portuguese in most of Africa's colonial world. This has attracted the use of such terms as Anglophone, francophone and Lusophone, respectively, even after African governments have attained independence from their colonial masters. To a large extent, the influence of English has been determined by colonial governments' and natives desire for their academic pursuits and not necessarily by the wider use of indigenous African languages. For sociolinguistic purposes English, French and Portuguese, largely, have been conveniently used for communicative purposes. It is also notable that Christian missions have had a significant role in the establishment of these ex-colonial languages. As a result these languages have had much influential institutional forces, where they have emerged as languages of power and prestige over indigenous African languages. In this article reasons for learning and development using ex-colonial languages are amply given and the reader is given the responsibility to assess the powerful position of English and other ex-colonial languages in education and social practice and in the over all national development of institutional forces, such as new governments that have emerged, societies and communities at large. The neglect to address the effective use of indigenous African languages has been the prime factor in the lack of using these indigenous African languages as media of instruction and in their use in national development, science and technology for the majority. Language is the normal medium that a given group knows best, which provides the necessary skills for human to become effective and efficient for there to be overall national development. The central argument, therefore, is that the language used by the majority is important for human resources training and vital for overall national development.

Lwati: A Journal of Contemporary Research Vol. 4 () 2007: pp.55-74

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eISSN: 1813-2227