Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ingse Skattum, in a short article on teaching in Bamankan in Mali

The government of Mali has made desultory attempts over the years to teach primary schooling in Bamanankan [Bambara], the main national language. (Instruction has been and continues to be largely in French.) Skattum in a 2006 article in Mande Studies notes that one problem is:
Bambara and other national languages remain essentially oral languages, and the pupils do not see, so to speak, any printed Bambara that would permit them to internalise its spelling.
This simple fact is so stunning in the light of a Malian government policy to have about 2,000 schools teach the first years in Bambara, knowing full-well that there was no reading material for the students to read in Bambara!

Sukie, by the way, proudly spelled "bib" and "run" on her Etch-a-Sketch this morning. She "sounded them out." It is so much more interesting to be thinking of literacy issues in developing countries when you run your own experimental literacy lab at home ;-)

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