The impact of English language as a medium of instruction on the training performance of secretaries

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University of Dar es Salaam
The purpose of this study was to find out to what extent English language as a medium of instruction, aided or hindered learning and performance in secretarial subjects, particularly typewriting and shorthand. An attempt was made to solicit views and attitude of students, employed secretaries and Government and parastatal officials towards the use of English as a medium of instruction in relation to Kiswahili, The impact of switching from English to Kiswahili on the secretary’s performance in Typewriting and shorthand. On the basis of this study, some assumptions were made. The first assumption was that English and Kiswahili are being used as instructional media. The second assumption was that there is an adverse impact on the learner’s performance as she switches from English which she frequently uses to perform her duties, to Kiswahili which she rarely uses. Four principal methods were used for collecting the data for the study. These were used for collecting the data for the study. These were questionnaires, interviews, tests and classroom observations. The target population for which the study was aimed were all secretarial colleges. However, due to time and financial constraints, the Tabora Secretarial College and the Civil Service Training Centre in Dar es Salaam, were selected as a representative sample. The 120 student population in these colleges formed a randomly stratified sample which included such variables as the pre-service students, in-service typing students and the in-service stenography students. A random sample of ten instructors, five being from each college, was selected as well as a sample of 10 secretaries from parastatal and Government offices. A deliberate sample of five officials from selected Government and parastatal offices was chosen to give views of the performance of their secretaries. The findings of this study revealed that 87.18 per cent (more than three quarters of the sample) of the students agreed that both English and Kiswahili should be used as languages of instruction. Responses on this issue, however, varied. Acceptance for using English as a medium of instruction was stronger among pre-service students than among in-service students. The study revealed, however, that students chose English as an instructional medium not because they found it easy but simply because the nature of their work made it necessary for them to use the language. This view was also supported by Government and parastatal officials’ response which indicated that English should be taught as a subject rather than be used for teaching purposes. An interesting finding was the existence of closer relationship among English, Kiswahili shorthand than among English, Kiswahili and Typewriting. This could help to illustrate the fact that knowledge of English and Kiswahili is more closely related to performance in shorthand than to performance in typewriting. As regards the impact of language on the secretary’s performance, the study revealed that switching from English to Kiswahili makes the secretary who is not used to working on Kiswahili scripts, slower and less accurate. The study is divided up into five chapters. The first chapter presents an introduction to a statement of the problem as well as the significance and purpose of the study. Chapter Two reviews the literature related to the study. Chapter Three presents the research methodology employed in collecting the data. The analysis of the data, the finding and a discussion of the findings, constitute the contents of chapter Four. Chapter Five provides a summary of the study which is subsequently followed by conclusions and recommendations arising from the findings. The study ends up with a bibliography and some appendices.
Secretaries, Education, English, Study and teaching
Kapoli, I. (1982) The impact of English language as a medium of instruction on the training performance of secretaries, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (