In people’s attitudes and language planning: a case study of Uganda’s educational language policy primary schools in Katakwi District

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Kampala International University. College of Education, Open, Distance and E-Learning
This thesis reports on a study on people’s attitudes as indicators of success in language planning. It was conducted in two primary schools in two communities in Katakwi district in Eastern Uganda, one rural and one urban. The study was guided by the following objectives; To determine people’s attitudes towards the languages used in lower primary schools, to examine the success of the language policy in Ugandan primary schools and to assess the relationship between people’s attitude and the success of the Ugandan language policy in the primary schools. The study focused on stakeholders' responses to the Uganda Language Education Policy in primary school which promotes the teaching of local languages in the first four years of schooling. The policy states that the medium of instruction is the relevant local language for Primary 1-4 in rural schools, and thereafter it is English. In the urban schools, English is the medium of instruction in all the classes and a local language is to be taught as a subject. The study used the descriptive case study design to find out people’s attitudes towards language policy in primary schools. The key stakeholders identified in the implementation process in the district included: the ministry representatives at the district level, the school administration, the teachers, and the community. The study used questionnaires, interviews guides, classroom observations, focus group discussions, and document analysis to collect data from the two communities, each of which was linked to a local primary school. Although the findings show that in both communities the participants were generally aware of the local language policy, they were ambivalent about its implementation in their schools. While they recognized the importance of local languages in promoting identity and cultural maintenance, a higher priority was their children's upward mobility, and the desire to be part of wider and more international communities. Further, while area language was perceived to have some benefits as a language of communication within the sub region, it was English that received unequivocal support from both communities. The study concludes that parents and communities need to be better informed about the pedagogical advantages of instruction in the local language, and that communities need convincing evidence that the promotion of local languages will not compromise desires for global citizenship. Therefore, drawing in particular on the work of Stein P (2007), I argue that we need to consider "re-sourcing resources" to create space in which teachers and other stakeholders can enhance children's multilingual literacy development. Government should also come out with a clear plan for implementation of the policy.
A thesis submitted to the college of higher degrees and research in fulfillment of a Master of Arts Degree in English of Kampala International University
People’s attitudes, Language planning, Uganda’s educational language policy, Primary schools, Katakwi District