Education and language: A human right for sustainable development in Africa.

Pre-colonialAfricawas neither an educationally nor a technologically unsophisticated continent. Whileeducationwas an integral part of the culture, issues oflanguageidentification and standardisation which are subject to contentious debate today were insignificant. Children learned community knowledge and history by asking questions instead of being taught in a hegemonic alienlanguage. This article argues that education and development should take place in a broader context of human rights, and explores the links between three areas often dealt with separately, namely: language, education and development. The authors of this paper demonstrate that changing the face of the multi-dimensionalities of poverty within societies is possible only when education is constructed in a rights perspective over the favoured colonial languages, which are not an integral part of the culture and resources of a community. The authors make a distinction between the right to educationand rights in education, the latter of which are found to be more significant for the challenges Africa faces. It is argued here that the elements of Amartya Sen’s ‘threshold’ conditions for inclusion in human rights and self-development in education are essential, and that a more promising architecture of education would include what the authors term meta-narrative frameworks, i.e. interrelated policies. The authors contend that the neoliberal commodification of the knowledge sector has only exacerbated human rights and capabilities deprivation – which encompasses both human and income poverty.
Babaci-Wilhite, Zehlia
Geo-JaJa, Macleans
Lou, Shizhou
International Review of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft. Oct2012, Vol. 58 Issue 5, p619-647. 29p.