As the issue of medium of instruction continues to divide educators and parents, a report released this week by UNESCO seems to have brought it to the fore. The 2016 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report reveals that 40% of the global population are taught in a language they do not understand.
Sub-Saharan African houses the most countries with the highest degree of linguistic diversity, yet only 6% of adults in the poorest countries attend literacy programmes, the report laments.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a Central African mineral-rich nation where 750 ethnic groups speak about 500 vernacular languages, the issue of language of instruction, which is French, has always been debated in the corridors of schools and ministerial offices.
This week, UNESCO urges the countries’ education systems to take care to protect minority cultures and their associated languages, which it says contain vital information about the functioning of ecosystems.
Education experts in Africa have long called for governments to relook at the issue of language of instruction, which they believe constitutes the root cause of many pupils repeating classes at a primary school level.
As the world seems to be taking a plunge due to rising temperatures and excessive industrial pollutions, this year’s GEM report seems to have put its primary focus on environmental awareness.
“Education systems need to ensure they are giving people vital skills and knowledge that can support the transition to greener industries, and find new solutions for environmental problems,” the GEM report, titled ‘Education for People and Planet’, says.
“This also requires education to continue beyond the school walls, in communities and the workplace throughout adulthood.
at the centre of various unofficial discussions.”
Photo: A classroom in Rwanda. credit: Wikipedia