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Language Ideologies and Challenges of Multilingual Education in Ethiopia

The Case of Harari Region

by Moges Yigezu

During the last decade and a half, the use of local languages for official purposes, particularly in primary education, has become a pronounced characteristic of Ethiopian education system. The fact that as many as 22 languages have been introduced into the school system since mid 1990s represents a major ideological shift from the previous policies the country had adopted over the course of several centuries. The Ethiopian educational language policy is radical in its scope and unique in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, and it invites a close examination of its ideological foundation and, even more so, its implementation model. The primary objective of this study was to make a critical appraisal of the implementation of vernacular education in the Harari region and examine the challenges of providing primary education in several Ethiopian and international languages, i.e. English, Amharic, Oromo, Arabic and Harari. The study made a comparative assessment of the use of languages as media of instruction for primary education, and concluded with an appraisal of the relative strengths and weaknesses in the use of each language, from both pedagogical and social perspectives.

ISBN 9789994455478 | 176 pages | 234 x 156 mm | 2010 | OSSREA, Ethiopia | Paperback

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"Moges’ excellent monograph details the chronology of language ideologies in Ethiopia, from the Axum civilization (1st century B.C.) and interrogates their role in the school curriculum... Moges’ opus presents eight well-researched chapters on the linguistic landscape of Ethiopia and the Harari region in particular. He writes academically, with many references to support his claims but this style does not impede the flow of the arguments. He subtly eschews jargon and metalinguistic descriptions making the book a very enjoyable read..."

The African Book Publishing Record

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