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MULTIPLE LANGUAGES IN CLASSROOMS IN ZIMBABWE: IS IT A MYTH?

S.K. Luggya, P. Bhebhe, E.O. Adu

University of Fort Hare (SOUTH AFRICA)
This paper is a desktop review methodology to get data on the implementation of multiple languages in Zimbabwean schools. Various scholars' literature was reviewed to get information on how multiple languages can be used in classrooms. Global literature on the implementation of multiple languages in classrooms was reviewed. The main objective of the study was to find a way to accommodate all learners in the learning process by making sure that they learn in their mother tongue. The use of multiple languages in the classroom, for instruction, continues to be a contentious issue, affecting the education system, not only in Zimbabwe, but also globally. Soon after independence in 1980 from the British colonial power, Zimbabwe realised the significant value of using mother tongue in learning, instead of English, a colonial language. As a result, the Language Policy in Education which raised the status of the local languages was formulated in the Education Act of 1987 under Section 55 of Part X. Various policies to uplift the indigenous languages were also formulated. However, there is still continued importance attached to English even in post-independent Zimbabwe reflecting a disconcerting continuity with pre-colonial language policies. This has led the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training to make the following important recommendations: the need to recognise linguistic rights as human rights, which all citizens should enjoy; and the need to protect and promote respect for all community languages regardless of the number of speakers and their level of development. Despite these endeavours, English remains the main medium of instruction in schools. This article therefore explored the literature regarding the Implementation of Multiple Languages in the Selected Schools in Nkayi District, Zimbabwe. The reviewed literature revealed that parents still see English as a language of opportunity and thus insist that their children be taught in English, there is also lack of political will to implement the language Act and the relevant policies, mother tongue is not used as a medium of instruction at early childhood education to mention a few. It is therefore recommended that the government employs strategies that would align its policies with the implementation of multiple languages in the classroom.