Education: Indigenous languages to be used in learning

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 00:00 |
Education Cabinet secretary George Magoha. Photo/BERNARD MALONZA

Irene Githinji and Ann Nyathira

The Ministry of Education yesterday said indigenous and foreign languages will be gradually introduced as optional subjects in selected schools, as the Competency-Based Curriculum is rolled out in Grade Four next year. 

The languages are being introduced amid calls to address challenges that may impede the success of the policy. 

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said the role of languages is not limited to communication but extends to other branches of knowledge.

In a speech delivered on his behalf by Quality Assurance and Standards acting Director Mary Gaturu yesterday, Magoha said the importance of languages justifies the need for planned, systematic and organised teaching.

“Introduction of indigenous and foreign languages is in line with the Constitution and international trends and will provide learners with opportunities for personal growth and development, both locally and internationally,” said the CS.

Negative attitude

The remarks were presented during a CBC pre-conference on language in education, held at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

“The mission of CBC is ‘nurturing every learners’ potential’ and time to embrace differentiated learning and active engagement of every learner in the learning process,” said Magoha.

Experts said challenges to the introduction of the languages, including a negative attitude among parents and inadequate teachers, should be addressed.

The language policy states that in early years, learners should be taught using their first or indigenous language and Kiswahili. 

David Njengere, an advisor to Magoha, said the language of instruction would be dependent on the language of a particular catchment. But the challenge, he said, was the fact that instruction materials are written in English.

“We have a challenge because the child is holding a book written in English but the teacher is trying to offer instruction in a local language. That needs to be addressed,” he said.

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