Attitudes of University of Botswana humanities students to mother tongue education

  • Rose Letsholo-Tafila
  • Goabilwe N. Ramaeba


In 1953, UNESCO advocated for mother tongue education, particularly at primary school level. Many countries took heed of this advocacy. However, Botswana has not yet implemented this at any level. Against this background, this article investigates the attitudes of humanities students at the University of Botswana to the use of mother tongue in university education and the ideologies that shape this. It addresses the question: What are the views of University of Botswana humanities students towards mother tongue education at university? The article specifically asks the following: a) Would you like your university education to be in your mother tongue?; and b) Is the use of English a hindrance to your learning? The data was collected through a questionnaire which 80 students responded to. The study uses Garrrett’s definition of attitude and Wolfram and Schilling-Estes’s conceptualisation of ideology and found that most students are not in favour of mother tongue education. In addition, they do not find English a hindrance to their education. Both views reflect a language ideology grounded in Botswana’s language practices which hold English in high regard at the expense of indigenous languages. 


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614