The use of Mother Tongue as, a Medium of Instruction: The Case of the Kembata Language

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Addis Ababa University


The use of mother tongue as a medium of instruction (MOl) is advocated by many scholars because of its pedagogical , psychological and Sociological value in the instruction process. However it did not get recognition by those who argue against using it based on its economic, political, linguistic and transition problems. These problems become so serious in the case of less developed regions and places with linguistic heterogenity. In Ethiopia the use of mother tongue as a MOl for formal education widely started with the adoption of the New Education and Training Policy of 1994. Thus, currently several nationality languages are being used as a MOl; one of them being Kembata Language in which case informal discussion revealed the existence of complain among the change affected people. This study aimed at examining the implementation condition of this language as a MOl. The studys' sample included 104 teachers, 120 students, 28 parents and 7 educational officials in K.A. T zone, SNNPR. Data were collected using questionnaire, interview, and observation checklist, and they were analysed using percentages, chi square test and the t-test. The analysis indicated the existence of weaknesses in teacher training, attempt made to remedy the weaknesses. Other findings were the unfavourable parental and teacher reaction regardless of children's claim that they can easily use their mother tongue for instruction, serious shortage of teaching materials, weak interaction among the change facilitators and change affected people, and little community support and participation. On the basis of these findings, awareness and skill development by training and orientation, improving interaction, provision, and economic use of teaching materials and wining the community support were recommended.



Use of Mother Tongue As