A Study on English as a Medium of Instruction at the Second Cycle Primary Schools of Cheha Woreda in Gurage Zone: Reflections by Grade 5 Students and Teachers

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Addis Ababa University


Following the downfall of the Dergue regime in 1991, Regions and Zones have been adopting their respective nationality languages as media of instruction in primary schools. This has been grounded by the New 1994 Education and Training Policy that decrees ‘primary education(Grades 1-8) will be given in nationality languages,’ and ‘English will be the medium of instruction for secondary and higher education.’ However, since 2004 the Gurage Zone has adopted English medium of instruction starting from Grade 5 that is two to four years earlier than many other Regions and Zones of the Country do. All first cycle primary schools (Grades 1 to 4) of the Zone employ Amharic as a medium of instruction. This research paper, therefore, attempts to assess both students’ and teachers’ perceptions, assumptions and attitudes as regards the adoption of English as a medium of instruction at Grade 5 level in Cheha Woreda of the Gurage Zone. In order to do so, questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and document analysis have been used as data collection tools. Randomly selected students and teachers of three primary schools as well as two Cheha Woreda education officials took part in the present research. The findings show that the current level of both students’ and teachers’ English proficiency is perceived to be inadequate to use English as a medium of instruction at Grade 5 level. Besides, there is also a widespread perception by both students and teachers that using English as medium of instruction helps students to improve their standard of English and to join higher learning institutions. And finally a set of recommendations have been made based on the major findings of the present Study.



Medium of Instruction