Language ideologies in the promotion of English in Uganda’s educational system: a historical overview from the 1890s to 2007

Medadi E. Ssentanda, Ruth S. Wenske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article is a historical investigation of language-in-education policy in Uganda. It compares educational reports from the 1890s to the 2000s with research from cultural history to trace how language ideologies shaped the use of English and African languages in Ugandan schools. The historical perspective seeks to complement current research on mother tongue education in Uganda by interrogating the nexus of economic, religious, political and ideological factors that shaped the modern educational system in Uganda. Analysing language policy in the British Empire through the specific case of Uganda, particularly the influential role of Makerere University, we show there are Eurocentric ideologies that are embedded in the historical support for mother tongue education. Mother tongues were and are used as scaffolds to learn English. Through the lenses of linguistic imperialism and critical pedagogy, we argue that the current model of transitional bilingual education needs to be reframed as full bilingual education, with particular attention to the segregation between public/private and rural/urban schools, and to smaller languages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-267
Number of pages10
JournalSouth African Journal of African Languages
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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