Terminological dilemma on familiar language based instruction and english language: a reflection on language of initial literacy instruction in Zambia.

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Mkandawire, Sitwe Benson
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The University of Zambia Press
There has been several terms that have been used in Zambia’s national policy documents to refer to first and familiar language as well as English language. This terminological controversy on the medium of initial literacy instruction in Zambia was there before and after Zambia’s independence in 1964. The dilemma was at two levels: the first was choice on the medium of instruction (English or local languages) and the second was on terminology use. The terminological dilemma was worse when it came to indigenous local languages as different policy documents had so far used various terms. For instance, literature of 1880s showed that common terms used were chosen language, native language and vernacular language. In the 1990s, common terms used were mother tongue based instruction, first language, local language, indigenous languages, familiar language and local Zambian Languages. Some of these terms have been cited to be used in several policy documents including the 1977 Educational Reform, 1992 Focus on Learning document, 1996 Educating Our Future, the 2000 Primary Reading Programme (PRP), the 2013 Primary Literacy Programme and the 2015 Zambia Education Curriculum Framework. These terminologies have always been discussed in contrast to English language, English Literacy instruction and second language in particular. The paper on one hand, wanted to establish the source of these terminologies and on the other hand establish the factors that led to the choice terms used associated with medium of instruction for language and literacy education in Zambia.
Terms used in literacy policy. Literacy policy. Language policy. Role of language.