The use of Kiswahili as medium of instruction in Tanzanian secondary schools: students’ perspectives

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University of Dar es Salaam
The use of Kiswahili language as the Medium of Instruction (Mol) has generated an endless national debate on language in education issues since 1970s. But perhaps the medium of instruction issue has been shifted away from a focus upon students’ needs (who are central to the debate). Hence, this study investigated students’ perspectives on the use of Kiswahili as the MOI in Tanzanian secondary schools. More specifically, the present study examined students’ dominant language of daily communication: students’ preferences for a medium of instruction in secondary schools and factors that influence the preferences. Students’ perspectives were sought by means of a questionnaire supplemented by interviews. Findings revealed that the majority of students, more than 78 percent prefers English to remain as the medium of instruction. In spite of the prevailing language situation where by more than 93 percent use Kiswahili as their language of daily communication. This result showed that students’ language preference is based on the fear and illusions that if English is not used as the Mol they will not learn the language. But if they learn and know English they will have a high status in life. In light of the findings, the issue of using Kiswahili as Mol in secondary schools can only be resolved by a firm political decision such as implementing cultural policy aimed at changing not only students’ perspectives but also the perspectives of the community at large
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF PL8702.T34.A49)
Kiswahili, students’, secondary schools, medium of instruction, national debate
akwilombe, H A (2004), The use of Kiswahili as medium of instruction in Tanzanian secondary schools: students’ perspectives, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam