|dc.description.abstract||The purpose of this study was to establish the effects of the use of Chinyanja as a medium of classroom instruction in selected primary schools in a multilingual Chilanga district. The objectives that guided this study were: to establish the reading levels of Grade three learners before and after the introduction of the Primary Literacy Programme (PLP); to establish the availability of teaching and learning materials in Chinyanja the MOI for grade three learners in Primary Schools in Chilanga District; to find out types of training teachers received in PLP teaching and learning methods; to establish Parents „perception on the use of Chinyanja as MOI in Primary Schools in Chilanga District. The study employed a qualitative research design and Purposive and random sampling techniques were used to come up with 26 respondents. Data was collected through, interviews, document analysis, focus group discussions and classroom observations of literacy lessons.
The study established that teachers taught literacy using both Chinyanja and English by code switching and code mixing. The study further found that some primary schools in the sampled schools had a slight increase in reading levels while others had low reading levels. Generally, reading levels were still low in most schools sampled among grade three learners who had followed PLP for three years. These low reading levels were attributed to many other variables which include difficulties in the methodology/techniques used in the new literacy policy, Pupils absenteeism and lack of reading and learning materials. Further, some teachers as well as pupils did not have much knowledge on the language of classroom instruction (Chinyanja), both had to learn the language used first before the teaching and learning sessions. Some respondents alluded to poor pupil performance as a result of teachers not being adequately trained on the new language policy. Moreover, parents were not happy with the new language policy of using local languages as language of classroom instruction from grade one to four. They preferred that their children to be taught the English language, they felt it was an official language for literate people as compared to an inferior language (Chinyanja). The conclusion of the study was that reading levels were still low in sampled primary schools in Chilanga District and recommendations made were: the need to involve classroom teachers in the formulation of the new literacy policies, because they are the ones at grass root levels and could advise policy implementers correctly; there is need for concerted efforts by stakeholders in education to providing instructional materials in the Chinyanja, teachers should be innovative by making sure that they make use of improvisation where there are no instructional materials: Policy makers to consult and involve teachers during formulation and Implementation or revision of education policies; the Ministry of Education to strengthen training of primary school teachers and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and re-training for the in-service teachers in literacy policy implementation.||en