The Minister of Basic Education- Honourable Fidelis Mmilili Molao has announced earlier today before parliament that his Ministry is in the process of introducing indigenous languages in primary schools.
The Botswana Languages Draft Policy which the Ministry currently has follows preliminary work undertaken by the Ministry in collaboration with the University of Botswana (UB) language experts according to the Minister.
“The main intent of the Botswana Languages Policy in Education is to promote language development and quality education that is accessible, equitable and relevant to all learners. It will also serve as a democratic and unifying factor for a proud and self-respecting nation. It aims to promote languages development and facilitate access to relevant quality education by all learners. The Draft Policy is expected to facilitate systematic transition from home to school using mother tongue for instruction. It will furthermore provide a framework to guide the development and use of different languages not only as medium of instruction but also as subjects in the long term. This will contribute significantly to the realization of the Vision 2036 ideals of a moral, tolerant, and inclusive society that provides opportunities for all. ” Minister Molao proclaimed.
The languages which are set to be introduced are: Sheyeyi, ThiMbukushu, Ikalanga, Shakgalagari, Chikuhane (Sesubiya), IsiNdebele, Afrikaans, Naro (Sesarwa), Shona, Otjiherero and, Sign Language. The languages, envisioned to be introduced in January 2022, will be used from pre-primary level until Standard 2 “to allow for smooth transition.” In the long-run, the languages will be adopted as subjects according to the Minister.
Though It was hesitant for some time and vehemently opposed the idea in the past, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has finally got baptized to the idea that introduction of indigenous languages is not a bad thing.
In his statement, Molao mentioned how they had the idea as part of their 2019 general elections manifesto, ” as per our 2019 Elections Manifesto titled “Advancing Together Towards A More Inclusive Economy”, the BDP Government promised Batswana that we will “introduce the teaching of various indigenous languages in our classrooms and Universities to ensure that learners’ cultures and languages are developed and promoted”. The journey has started” he said.