Applied Linguistics and Literacy in
Africa and the Diaspora
An AILA Research
EDITOR AND WEBMASTER:
Lauryn Oates, (University of British Columbia)
EAST AFRICA COORDINATORS:
Jacinta Ndambuki, (University of the
Juliet Tembe, (Islamic University in Uganda/
University of British Columbia)
Willy Ngaka (University of KwaZulu-Natal) firstname.lastname@example.org
WEST AFRICA COORDINATORS:
Dipo Salami, (Obafemi Awolowo University) email@example.com
Kate Adoo-Adeku (University of Ghana)
JeDene Reeder (SIL International/Simon Fraser University)
SOUTHERN AFRICA COORDINATORS:
Gregory Kamwendo, (University of Botswana)
Violet Lunga, (University of Botswana)
Bonny Norton (University of British Columbia) firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear ReN Africa Members,
I am pleased to present your October newsletter, where we’ve tried to keep up with the many exciting things being undertaken by members of this research network, drawing from a wide diversity of research sites and emerging areas of inquiry in language and literacy. A welcome to all new subscribers- we hope you will enjoy the information here and also make regular use of the renafrica.org website.
As September started, many of you were making your way home from the AILA World Congress in Beijing. AILA (Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée), the international federation of national and regional associations of Applied Linguistics, held its 16th World Congress in Beijing from August 23-28, 2011. The congress theme was Harmony in Diversity: Language, Culture, Society. Keynote speakers included Allan Bell of Auckland University of Technology, Malcolm Coulthard of the University of Aston, Gu Yueguo of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences & Beijing Foreign Studies University, Diane Larsen-Freeman of the University of Michigan, and Barbara Seidlhofer of the University of Vienna. A first time attendee, ReN member Millicent Quarcoo from Ghana starts this issue off with a short report of her experience at the congress and some plans afoot to improve African representation at future events.
We wish you all the best in your research endeavours, and hope you will keep us posted with submissions for the newsletter (next deadline is March 1, 2012) and website (any time). You can find submission guidelines (new!) here: http://www.renafrica.org/subscribe-to-our-listserv. Don’t forget that you can also keep with us on Twitter, where we regularly post conference announcements, funding opportunities, newly published research and more: Twitter.com/ReNAfrica.
We welcome your feedback and hope that you enjoy this issue, share it with others, and help to further expand this network.
NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM ReN MEMBERS
A Report from the AILA World Congress
By Millicent Quarcoo
I had the honour to receive an AILA Solidarity Award in order to attend the World Congress from 23 – 28 August 2011 in Beijing, China. I presented a paper co-authored with Dr. Jo Arthur Shoba of Edge Hill University, U.K. and myself from the University of Ghana, Ghana. I was one of five presenters whose abstract had won a solidarity award. In applying to this conference I was supported by a British Academy UK Africa Academic Partnership project involving the University of Ghana, University of Education, Winneba and Edge Hill University U.K.
There were only five presentations about language issues in Africa. These included three from South Africa, one by a South African from an American university, one from Nigeria and myself from Ghana. During the Australian night (organized to introduce Brisbane, Australia, the next conference venue), Professor Ngwenya of the South African Applied Linguistics Society met us to discuss Africa’s representation at the conference, which we all agreed was very poor. Professor Meinhof of the University of Southampton and a former executive of AILA and Professor Bygate of Lancaster University were invited to the meeting. We discussed ways in which Africa could have a stronger representation in the next conference in Brisbane, in 2014 as well as how to get an African rep in the AILA executive. We agreed that Professor Themba Ngwenya should be co-opted to the AILA executive and be supported by Professor Kamwangamalu. It was also agreed that African linguistic associations must be strengthened and affiliated with AILA so that we can exchange ideas.
The conference opened my eyes to the enormous task that organizers face in managing the number of presenters, who were so many that I wondered how they managed the groupings, the venues, times, brochures, food, etc. It also gave me the opportunity to meet many linguists from all over the world, most importantly Professor Rüschoff (Chair of AILA), Professor Ulrike Meinhof of the University of Southampton, Professor Ngwenya and Professor Nkamta of the Southern African Association for Commonwealth Literature and Languages Studies. I attended some workshops that have helped me in my teaching and gained awareness of some theories that I think will help my doctoral research. I also got to take a photograph with Professor Rüschoff and two other Solidarity awardees from Sri Lanka and Australia. The African representatives also took a photo together.
Dr. Bonny Norton Recognized by AERA
Congratulations to co-convenor of this research network, Dr. Bonny Norton, who is the first recipient of a prestigious new American Educational Research Association (AERA) SIG award for Second Language Leadership through Research. The award seeks to recognize senior scholars who have made “significant and exemplary contributions” throughout their research, teaching and professional service in the field Second Language Research. For more information on the award, visit:
Call for Proposals: Linguistics and the Glocalisation of African Languages
Contributed by: Prof. Wale Adegbite
Proposals are hereby invited from scholars across the globe who may wish to contribute to a festschrift being planned in honour of Professor Kola Owolabi, a renowned linguist, who has been in the vanguard of engineering the indigenous Nigerian languages, particularly the Yoruba language, to meet the demands of the modern world. The festschrift is to address the broad theme: Linguistics and the Glocalisation of African Languages for Sustainable Development. For background information on the theme, please request the full call for proposals from email@example.com
Prospective authors are to submit proposals (500 words) on basic, applied, action and evaluation research on language policy, language planning, language advocacy and language implementation issues in respect of any of the following sub-themes: African languages in transition: historical, philosophical and cultural perspectives; African languages vis-à-vis foreign languages in the continent: status, forms and functions; The facets of African languages in social life: education, health, agriculture, law, fine art, science and technology, finance, administration, religion, politics and governance; African languages and social communication: the media (electronic, print and symbolic), advertising, music and entertainment and conflict mediation; Computerisation of African languages; The nexus of African languages and literatures; African languages and literatures pedagogy; Language policy, planning, advocacy and implementation: Lessons from projects in (a) Africa and (b) outside Africa; or, Translation/Interpreting in a multilingual context: challenges and prospects. Each proposal is expected to reflect research problem, aim/purpose and objectives, methodology (data base and theoretical perspective), expected findings/ demonstration/ application, conclusion and references. The deadline for submission of proposals is October 31, 2011. Proposals are to be forwarded to any of the following:
1. Prof. Wale Adegbite, Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com); 2348034840633
2. Dr Ayo Ogunsiji, Department of English, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria (firstname.lastname@example.org); 2348033939032
3. Dr Oye Taiwo, Department of Linguistics, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria (email@example.com); 08130821578
New Publication from ReN Member: Tone Orthography
ROBERTS, David (in press): “Autosegmental and pedagogical considerations in preparation for a tone orthography experiment.” Journal of West African Languages 38:2, 87-106. Due November 2011.
This article describes the preparatory phase leading up to a tone orthography experiment in Kabiye (Gur, Togo). It aims to show the importance of integrating theory and practice when undertaking a classroom experiment. The first section applies certain principals from the theories of autosegmental and lexical phonology to the development of an experimental tone orthography and the pedagogical materials that were used to teach it. The second section describes four rounds of pilot tests that tested these principals in the classroom. These two tracks developed simultaneously until they coincided in test materials that were both theoretically and pedagogically sound. The article advocates the reporting of such preparatory work in order to optimise future experiment design.
Dans cet article nous décrivons la phase préparatoire qui a précédé une expérience formelle sur la graphie tonale du kabiyè (Gur, Togo). Notre objectif sera de démontrer l’importance d’une approche unifiée reliant théorie et pratique lorsqu’il s’agit de mener une expérience sur le terrain. La première partie applique certains principes de la théorie de la phonologie autosegmentale ainsi que celle de la phonologie lexicale à l’élaboration d’une graphie tonale expérimentale et les matériaux pédagogiques destinés à l’enseigner. La deuxième partie décrit quatre séries de tests pilotes dont le but était de mettre ces principes à l’épreuve dans les salles de classe. Ces deux pistes ont évolué simultanément, jusqu’à ce qu’elles coïncident dans des matériaux expérimentaux aussi solides sur le plan pédagogique que théorique. L’article plaide pour la publication de tels travaux préparatoires dans le but d’optimaliser la méthodologie des futures expériences.
New Publication: Written Wolof in the 19th and 20th Centuries in Senegal
ReN Africa member Dr El Hadji Mansour Mboup, professor of English Studies in Bargny, Sénégal has recently published a new book, “La langue wolof écrite des 19ème et 20ème siècles au Sénégal,” Les Editions Universitaires Européennes, 320 pp. long. Available for purchase at Morebooks, Amazon or Priceminister.
Je vous écrit pour vous informer que qu’un ouvrage dont je suis l’auteur vient de paraître au Editions Universitaires Européennes. En effet vous pouvez vous le procurer sur Amazon.com, Amazon.fr, Morebooks.com. bLe titre est “La langue wolof écrite des 19ème et 20ème siècles au Sénégal “. Il comporte 320 pages. Merci d’avance et bonne lecture
October Member Profile: Alison Love
Associate Professor, English Language and Linguistics, National University of Lesotho
I’ve taught in universities in the SADC region – Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Lesotho – for over 40 years. I began by teaching literature, since my MPhil was on the stylistics of Nigerian poetry. However, I shifted to teach English for Academic Purposes and, eventually, English Linguistics. I have long been concerned with Language for Specific Purposes, and coordinated a new MA degree in this area at the University of Zimbabwe. My research has been in academic discourse, particularly textbooks in different disciplines, and in wider discourse analysis, particularly political and media discourse in Southern Africa. I have been on the editorial boards of English for Specific Purposes and the Journal of English for Academic Purposes. I am rapidly approaching retirement, when I hope to spend more time with my four grandchildren – and have more time for mountain walking!
Alison’s Sample Publications:
Love, A. M., 1991. Process and Product in Geology: An Investigation of Some Discourse Features of Two Introductory Textbooks. English for Specific Purposes, 10, 89-109.
Love, A. & V.M. Vezha, 2009. No Way Forward without Consensus: Church Leaders Envision “The Zimbabwe We Want”. Journal of Language and Politics, 8(3), 433-455.
What: 2nd Communication Studies Conference
When: July 11-13, 2012; and 2-day workshop July 8-10
Where: University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
Summary: Conference will deliberate on the advances in academic, business, and professional communication in the global community, focused on three themes: Current issues and trends in writing/research; Managing crisis through communication; and, Visual/Performing Arts in communication. Keynote presenters include Prof. Ken Hyland (University of Hong Kong), Prof. Keyan Tomaseli (University of Kwazulu Natal), Prof. Nogav Puth (University of Pretoria), and Prof. Levi Obonyo. Submissions are invited for individual papers, posters, and colloquia. Abstracts of not more than 200 words should be e-mailed to the following panel: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. Authors should present the abstracts in 1.5’’ spacing, Times New Roman 12, with the author(s) names, affiliation and contact details (postal address, fax, phone, email) included. The sub-themes should be specified.
Contact Information: email@example.com or tel 267 73294957
Organizers: Communication Studies Department, University of Botswana
Deadline for abstracts/proposals: Early registration by May 30, 2012; late registration by June 30, 2012. Abstracts due by May 5, 2012.
What: GG2012 - Changing education for a changing world
When: March 13-15, 2012
Where: London, UK
Summary: The proposition of Going Global 2012 is that education has the ability to shape and connect the lives of people around the world. But to do this would require us to radically re-think the nature of our universities and colleges. Just how radical must that vision be? Are traditional institutions equipped to create this new reality or does it call for freer and much more dynamic thinking? How can we move from vision to reality? For a description of the three conference themes, visit
Contact Information: ICWE GmbH, Silke Lieber, Leibnizstrasse 32, 10625 Berlin, Germany, Tel.: +49 (0)30 310 18 18-0
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.icwe.net
Organizers: British Council
Deadline for abstracts/proposals: Closed.
What: Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics 2012 Conference (In conjunction with the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences
When: May 28 to 30, 2012
Where: Wilfrid Laurier University & University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Contact Information: http://www.aclacaal.org/CongACLAAn.htm
Organizers: Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics
Deadline for abstracts/proposals: November 18, 2011
What: International Reading Association 57th Annual Convention
When: April 29 – May 2, 2012
Where: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Summary: Theme is ‘Celebrate Teaching.’ Gather with educators from across the country to learn the latest issues in the field and network for solutions. Come for dynamic general session speakers, knowledge-packed (and practical) Teaching Edge sessions, and cutting edge products from the exhibit hall.
Contact Information: http://www.reading.org/convention.aspx
Organizers: International Reading Association
Deadline for abstracts/proposals: Registration opens December 1, 2011
FOCUS ON...WEST AFRICA
Writing Ideas and Making Books in Ghana
By: Jonathan Thurston, President of the International School of Art, Business, and Technology
Book Club International (a program run by the California based non-profit International School of Art Business and Technology) hosted another successful writing project in Ghana.The Book Club International program teaches people to publish in their own communities where there is often a scarcity of books (http://bookclubint.org/). Students, aided by free and powerful book making software, a laptop and printer are trained and empowered to write books about their own ideas, their lives or their personal learning. These creations can then be published in many forms, in many languages, emailed to friends and family, and housed in world-accessible online libraries. This summer Book Club International volunteer Sue Gonzalez, a teacher from San Francisco, worked with a school in Elmina called Bantuma. Sue describes her experience:
“As a special education teacher, I am continuously searching for meaningful ways to inspire my students to improve their literacy skills. I teach students with learning disabilities who often find school a frustrating place to be. This summer I traveled to Elmina, Ghana to begin a global connection of an International Book Club where students from my school as well as the Bantuma School in Elmina would have the opportunity to author and publish their own books to share with each other and with children around the world through the website bookclub.realelibrary.com. For three weeks, I volunteered at Bantuma School teaching writing through a writer’s workshop process. Working alongside an amazing librarian, we had 37 students, from grades 4 through middle school, participating in our book club. It was such a humbling and inspiring experience to teach the Ghanaian students who came to class each day with such passion and unwavering motivation to write their own stories.
“Since the students are accustomed to rote learning, teaching a creative process was challenging yet very rewarding. I started every lesson with a read aloud, a mini lesson about the writing process, time for writing and finally a time for students to share ideas. Traditionally, these students do not have much classroom time for discussion. It was amazing to listen to them discuss character and plot development with each other. After each discussion, they had the opportunity to share an appreciation. This was also a new experience for them. One of my most memorable days was when I brought the markers and crayons out for the students to illustrate their stories. Usually, the students were very serious in class. But, on this day, they had the biggest, most beautiful smiles! The students had never seen so many choices of colors before. Since we had lots of markers, each student was able to keep as many as they wanted at their desk. It was fun to watch a student try to hold on to 15 markers in one hand while trying to illustrate with the other hand."
“On the last day of the Book Project, we celebrated with a party and each student was given their own book. The students were beaming with pride and were so excited to have the opportunity to take their books home to their families. It was a very memorable day for me and the students who worked so hard in the Book Club. During my stay, I had the opportunity to see a baboon sanctuary, visit with a Chief from a rural village and eat traditional fufu with the Headmaster of Bantuma School. Although I had so many amazing experiences during my fellowship, it was through the students’ stories that I gained a deeper understanding of life in Ghana. These students appear to be so joyful and spirited, but through their stories, I understood their worries and fears as well as their hopes and dreams for a brighter future.”
For more information contact www.isabt.org. Please visit our online e-libraries and read some of the e-Books written by authors from around the world. To read e-books from Ghana click here http://ghana.realelibrary.com/. To read e-books from our Book Club Program click here http://bookclub.realelibrary.com
FOCUS on... Francophone Africa
New Book Addresses Indigineity and Language in the French Novel in Africa
Vakunta, P.W. (2011). Indigenization of language in the African francophone novel: A new literary canon. New York: Peter Lang.
About the Author: Dr. Peter Wuteh Vakunta is a native of Bamunka-Ndop in the Ngoketunjia Division of the Republic of Cameroon. After completing secondary education at Sacred College in Mankon-Bamenda, Peter attended the University of Yaoundé where he obtained his BA in Modern Bilingual Letters (French & English). He later enrolled at the Advanced School of Translators and Interpreters at the University of Buea where he obtained an MA degree in Translation Studies. Upon completion he was hired by the Presidency of the Republic of Cameroon to work as senior translator in the Division of Linguistic Services. Dr. Vakunta currently teaches modern languages at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, and is a novelist, poet, storyteller and essayist.
Paper: Integration of Young Francophone African Immigrants in Francophone Schools in British Columbia, by Marianne Jacquet, Danièle Moore, Cécile Sabatier, and Mambo Masinda, Published by the Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Diversity (2008).
Abstract: The demographic profile of francophone schools in the anglophone provinces of Canada has shifted dramatically. These schools now serve a diverse urban population with a wide range of linguistic and cultural origins. Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to an education in French for children who have at least one parent (or sibling) who received instruction in that language. The recent arrival in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), of families from a number of African countries has transformed the academic landscape. The purpose of this exploratory study is to provide a demographic portrait of the francophone African newcomers and document the impact of the arrival of students from Sub-Saharan Africa in a number of the schools in Greater Vancouver’s Conseil scolaire francophone [Francophone Education Authority] (CSF) so that the needs of the various academic partners can be assessed. The study shows the complexity of the situations that exist, for example, in terms of the migrants’ status, origins, languages and cultures and their previous social and academic experiences (families who have come from refugee camps or have been victims of genocide, child soldiers, etc.). The research aims at documenting and assessing the needs of African students attending schools in the CSF of BC. This newly expanding immigrant population of students is eligible to enroll in French schools because their families were educated in French prior to arrival in BC, although they may speak a variety of African languages at home. A qualitative methodology based on interviews with different key partners, such as the CSF (administrators, principals, teachers), families and community partners provides the multiple perspectives needed to understand the dynamics of student integration from diverse perspectives in homes, schools and communities. The findings are documented against the background of demographic data gathered in schools, Statistics Canada, and Community Airport Newcomers’ Network.
Read the full paper here: http://mbc.metropolis.net/assets/uploads/files/wp/2008/WP08-13.pdf
FOCUS ON...EAST AFRICA & THE HORN OF AFRICA
Uwezo’s Nations reports on Education in East Africa
Uwezo, which means ‘capability’ in Kiswahili, is a four-year initiative “that aims to improve competencies in literacy and numeracy among children aged 5-16 years old in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, using an innovative approach to social change that is citizen driven and accountable to the public.” The organization is seeking to work towards a minimum of 10% raise in literacy and numeracy levels in children in the three countries. Uwezo’s approach is to “enable policy makers as well as ordinary citizens – that is parents, students, local communities and the public at large – to become aware of the actual levels of children’s literacy and numeracy” (Uwezo official website). Such awareness can be used to stimulate practical and policy change in education across East Africa.
In July 2011, Uwezo released its 2011 Uwezo Annual Learning Assessment report for Kenya, based on the assessment of 134,000 children aged 6-16 years. A sample of some of the report’s findings:
- Only 1/3 of children in Class 3 have acquired the competences expected at class 2 and children in Class 4 cannot do Class 2 work.
- In numeracy, nearly 1 out of 10 children in Class 8 cannot do Class 2 level divisions.
- High absenteeism among pupils and teachers is affecting learning.
- A significant factor that was found to contribute to lack of learning was unidentified poor eyesight among children. The learning levels of these children are 27 percentage points lower than that of children with good eyesight.
- On average, every school has a shortfall of 4 teachers.
- Parents are concerned about the learning of their children and engage in teaching their children: 20% of teachers in every school are employed by parents.
The Kenya and other reports can be downloaded from
www.uwezo.net. A report for Uganda was released in August 2011, at an event at Makerere University in Kampala. The Tanzania report for 2011 is available as of September 15. An East Africa Synthesis Report (using data from 2010) is also available. Upcoming plans include using local language text in the 2012 Uwezo assessment and Uwezo is seeking partners to this end. For more information, contact Richard Ssewakiryanga at email@example.com.
Profile: Project - Books for the Other 90%
Project - Books for the Other 90% recently hosted a meeting in Kampala to explore book development needs in Uganda, and to share information about its efforts to enhance access to affordable, quality books that are culturally appropriate by establishing national print facilities in developing countries. The group is currently active in Congo- Brazzaville, Liberia, Suriname and Zambia, and is also exploring working in Tanzania, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Rwanda and Ethiopia. To learn more about the project and its plans in Uganda, contact Maggie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOCUS ON...SOUTHERN AFRICA
University Students and ICT Usage in South Africa
Laura Czerniewicz and Cheryl Brown of the Centre for Educational Technology (University of Cape Town) have been researching ICT usage amongst university students in South Africa for the last seven years, seeking to understand how and why students make use of technology. Below is a list of some of their publications following this research question over the years.
(1) A study of the relationship between institutional policy, organisational culture and e-learning use in four South African universities (2009). Access it from the Centre for Educational Technology: www.cet.uct.ac.za/files/file/ResearchOutput/CAECzerniewiczBrownOnlineVersion.pdf
This article investigates the relationship between policy (conceptualised as goals, values and resources), organisational culture and e-learning use. Through both qualitative and quantitative research methods, we gathered data about staff and student perspectives from four diverse South African universities representing a selection of ICT in education policy types (Structured and Unstructured) and organisational cultural types of “collegium, bureaucracy, corporate and enterprise” (McNay, 1995). While our findings show a clear relationship between policy and use of ICTs for teaching and learning, organisational culture is found crucial to policy mediation and the way that e-learning use is embedded within the organisation. We conclude that although a Structured Corporate institutional type enables the attainment of a “critical mass” within e-learning, Unstructured Collegium institutions are better at fostering innovation. Unstructured Bureaucratic institutions are the least enabling of either top down or bottom up e-learning change.
(2) Students make a plan: understanding student agency in constraining conditions (2008). Access it in the ALT Open Access Repository: http://repository.alt.ac.uk/433/
Drawing on Archer’s perspectives on the agency / structure relationship, this paper explains situations where students in varied, challenging circumstances find ways to negotiate difficult conditions. The paper firstly reports specific findings of a study on student access and use of technology in three universities in South Africa; and then uses Archer’s concept of agency to explain the findings. The context of the study is a South African higher education system clearly committed to preparing university students for participation in the knowledge society as is evident in numerous policy documents. However, the response to this rapid worldwide social and economic transformation has occurred simultaneously with the substantial restructuring of a fragmented, divided and unequal sector, the legacy of racially demarcated and differentially resourced apartheid institutions (Department of Education, 2001, Gillard, 2004). Additionally, social demands on South African higher education institutions have intensified in recent years. Increased participation by a diverse range of students has resulted in massification of the sector within a context of limited or even reduced funding (Maasen and Cloete, 2002). As is the case internationally, there are both more and different students entering the sector.
(3) The virtual Möbius strip: Access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in higher education in the Western Cape (2006). Access it from the Centre for Educational Technology: www.cet.uct.ac.za/files/KnowledgeBase/VirtualMobiusCompleteReport.pdf
This report is a regional study into the access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in five higher education institutions in the Western Cape, South Africa. The research was conducted in 2004 – through a survey of 6577 students and 515 academic staff, and in 2005 - through interviews with key informants in the region. This study is one component of the larger HictE (Information and Communication Technologies in Higher Education) Project, which is a cross-institutional Carnegie-funded project designed to improve understandings of quality and equity issues in educational technology in higher education in the Western Cape, South Africa.
Taking Stock: Namibia’s National Literacy Program
Namibia has had a national literacy program since 1992, shortly after the country gained independence. The campaign built upon the traditions of early missionary activity as well as initiatives that emerged during the struggle for independence such as the Literacy Campaign of the South West African People’s Organization (SWAPO). The program is for both out-of-school youth and illiterate adults, and is wholly funded by the Namibian Ministry of Education. Since its establishment, three external evaluations of the program have been undertaken (in 1995, 1998 and 2008) and learners are also formally examined at the end of the literacy academic year. Nearly 20 years on, UNESCO notes some of the impact of Namibia’s National Literacy Program drawing from the evaluation data:
- The program has expanded rapidly since its inception. Crucially, most of the learners are literate after completing the adult basic learning program. Between 1992 and 1995, for example, the number of learners increased from about 15,000 to 36,000, while the number of promoters (trainers) grew from 700 to 2,000. By 1999, about 46,000 learners had enrolled in and benefited from the program. Around 40,000 learners benefit from the program each year. In addition, by 2007, 23,323 adult learners had enrolled in all the three stages of the NLPN of which 57% were tested and 55% had successfully acquired basic literacy competencies.
- • National literacy rates have risen from 65% in 1991 to 81.3% in 2001, while the total youth literacy rate rose to 92% between 1995 and 2004 and the adult literacy rate rose to 85% during the same period.
- As a result of the program, many people have been empowered to participate actively in national developmental activities including entrepreneurial activities and democratic processes.
- Entrepreneurial skills have enabled a number of learners to establish income-generating projects. In addition, more people are now able to independently conduct their business including undertaking financial transactions during shopping,
- More women are being trained and empowered; as a result, they are gaining the confidence to compete for community leadership positions.
Read more: www.unesco.org/uil/litbase/?menu=4&programme=15
P1 Baseline Literacy Survey from Lira and Oyam Districts, Uganda
By: Craig Esbeck, Mango Tree, Program Director, Lango Literacy Project
The Lango Literacy Project has just completed its P1 Baseline Literacy Survey using the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) tools. As part of our project we wanted to gather data on terminal P1 Leblango literacy achievement in our pilot and control schools. We chose to use the EGRA tools because they had already been developed for Leblango (thanks to RTI and the Hewlett Foundation with support from the Ministry of Education and Sports of Uganda, the National Curriculum Development Centre, and UNEB) and had been tested with P2 and P3 pupils in the Lango Sub-region.
As the report outlines, we tested a total of 468 P1 pupils in nine schools in Oyam District and Lira Municipality in Uganda. The testing was done in November so that it gave an accurate representation of pupils’ terminal literacy achievements. The results are sobering. We found that:
- The average number of letters a pupil completing P1 could identify in one minute was 9 (out of 42 letters in the Leblango alphabet);
- Nearly a third of the P1 pupils completing P1 could not identify a single letter of the Leblango alphabet;
- 92% of P1 pupils surveyed could not read one familiar word in Leblango by the end of P1;
- Oral reading fluency in Leblango for the average P1 pupil at the end of the year was less than one word per minute.
The report explains each of the reading tests we administered, gives the results by school surveyed and by overall average pupil performance and also shares our project’s current minimum literacy attainment benchmarks. Our results supplement the work of the UNEB and the Ministry of Education’s growing involvement and interest in the quality of learning and pupil’s achievement in early primary grades. The results of our report can be evaluated along with the recent UWEZO study and the 2009 EGRA tests, both of whose findings are similar to this project’s.
The picture of early primary literacy performance that is coming into focus is not good news. What IS good news, however, is the fact that a fairly clear picture is beginning to emerge thanks to tools like EGRA and UWEZO. Until we know and understand the problem, it is difficult to take appropriate action. With good data on pupils’ literacy performance we can establish benchmarks for pupils, incentives for teachers and administrators and hold everyone from top to bottom accountable for their performance.
To read the full report from the Lango Literacy Project, please request a soft-copy from Craig Esbeck at: email@example.com.
Tell us about your research! Send us a short profile (one paragraph) of the research you are undertaking on language or literacy education in Africa by March 1st, 2012 for inclusion in our next issue.
In the Field
FEATURE ARTICLE United Nations University Project on Education for Sustainable Development in Africa: An innovative approach to higher educational learning in Africa
By: Prof Masafumi Nagao, Emmanuel Mutisya and Sarah Hasaba
The global community witnessed the passing of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the Millennium Declaration of the year 2000 involving 189 countries to be implemented from the year 2000 to 2015 and also the inception of the United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) that started from 2005 to 2014.I Both MDGs and DESD have target years of 2015 and 2014 respectively; upcoming opportunities for the international community to evaluate at length the impact of MDGs and the DESD around the world. For the purpose of this article, concentration will be placed on DESD. The principal aim of DESD is to promote changes in approaches to education so as to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development. Governments, international organizations, NGOs, educational institutions and schools are now engaged in various initiatives and campaigns to promote ESD around the world. II
Suffice to say, United Nations University (UNU), the think tank of the United Nations, has been working actively since the early 1990s in the area of environment and sustainable development, focusing mainly on the interactions between human activities and the environment, and their implications for sustainable human development. To this end, the UNU has been giving high priority to inter-university networking and capacity development, particularly in developing countries. III This continued effort has given way to a project called the Education for Sustainable Development for Africa (ESDA). ESDA is a UNU project that aims at developing and testing a post-graduate-level education program for professionals who may serve as planners, organizers, instructors, field development agents and practitioners for sustainable development in these countries. The program also stresses the importance of close collaboration among the participating universities in its implementation though the use of ICT and other means so that the program participants, including in particular the faculty, may develop themselves into a like-minded group of professionals committed to sustainable development in Africa. IV
The objectives of the ESDA project include establishing an international organizational structure to offer a Masters-level (or equivalent) education program in sustainable development that would shape a new generation of planners, organizers, instructors, engineers and project managers through cross-institutional and cross-border systems of delivery for academic instruction and exchanges; developing a standard Masters-level curriculum which reflects the development reality of Africa and which incorporates a holistic view, trans-disciplinary thinking and multi-cultural understanding; pilot testing the program in the partner universities in Africa and carrying out a systematic evaluation of the entire experience to chart the way forward. V
The uniqueness of the project is as follows: a) project ownership by leading African universities collaborating for impact; b) improving the existing post-graduate program of partner universities rather than creating a totally new program; c) emphasis on field-oriented program designed to strengthen problem-solving capacities and inter-personal work skills of graduate students; d) active support by UNU and other external partner universities as well as UN agencies working in the field of sustainable development; e) intentional use of information and communication technology (ICT) and f) project designed not only for African students but also for students from outside Africa who are interested in contributing to sustainable development in Africa.
The project plan for ESDA has been elaborated by fifteen African and twenty Japanese university-based experts teaching sustainable development who were invited for this purpose to a Consultation Conference at UNU House from 25 to 27 February 2009. These experts have helped to define the basic elements of the ESDA Project Document, and suggested a truncated three-year plan to develop and test a post-graduate program of education for sustainable development in Africa by the end of March 2011. The project has progressed basically according to this plan, though with a slight delay because of the extra time needed for program development. The project now stands at the start of the Program Testing and Synthesis Phase as per the time line shown below. The program has been ready as of end of July 2011 for implementation at an appropriate time. From October 13-14, 2011, a final Project Completion Conference is to be held at the UNU headquarters in Tokyo to act as a formal launching pad for establishing the post-graduate programs developed through the project.
Oct. 2008 – Mar 2009 Project Initiation and Conceptualization
May 2009 – Jun 2010 Program Development and Planning Phase
Jul 2010 – Jun 2011 Program Testing and Synthesis Phase
Year 4: Implementation of the ESDA Program in several African Universities.
The main thematic areas of this ESDA project are as thus:
• Integrated environmental, economic and social development in rural Africa
• Community-based innovation for sustainable urban development in Africa
• Management of mineral resources for sustainable development in Africa
Overall, with climate change, political as well socio-economic challenges affecting many of the regions in Africa, the ESDA is a welcome higher educational approach to addressing and grounding the issue of sustainable development in Africa. The project focus stems from recognition that although there has been much progress in university-level education for sustainable development, curricula and instruction continue to rely heavily on concepts, theories and learning materials which have been developed outside Africa. VI Therefore, through knowledge and practice-based research, students will be stimulated to think of contextualized approaches to addressing the most pressing issues in their local communities, countries and regions across Africa. This concept envisages a new breed of higher education graduates who at the end of the program will not entirely be job seekers but also job creators; a phenomenon quite missing in many of the current African education systems. To read more about the ESDA project, visit the link below http://isp.unu.edu/research/projects/esda/index.html
I See MDGs at www.un.org/millenniumgoals and Decade of Education for Sustainable Development at www.unesco.org/en/esd/
II For general information on these campaigns and activities, see the designated website of UNESCO (www.unesco.org/education/desd), which was designated as a lead agency in the above-mentioned UN General Assembly resolution.
III See www.unu.edu/esd
IV United Nations University Project on Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA), Briefing Note, July 2011.
V United Nations University Project on Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA), Briefing Note, July 2011.
VI United Nations University Project on Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA), Briefing Note, July 2011.
WHAT’S NEW IN TECHNOLOGY
iEARN Considered Best Website for Teaching and Learning in 2011
The International Education and Resource Network (iEARN), a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries who work together on projects using the Internet, has been awarded Best Website for Teaching and Learning 2011 by the American Association of School Librarians. The award recognizes “websites, tools and resources of exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning as embodied in the AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. The recognized websites foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. They are free, web-based sites that are user friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover.”
iEARN, founded in 1988 and based in Spain, fosters links between students in countries around the world. iEARN Country Coordinators are based throughout Africa. Find a directory here: http://www.iearn.org/index.php?q=countries/country-coordinators There are over 150 projects in iEARN, all designed and facilitated by teachers and students to fit their curriculum and classroom needs and schedules. To register, or request more information, complete the online registration form.
Online OERS Resource: Jorum
Jorum is on an online database of educational resources. Through Jorum, users can find, share and discuss learning and teaching resources, shared by the UK Further and Higher Education community. Have a browse here: http://www.jorum.ac.uk/
eLearning Africa Scholarship Trust Launched
eLearning Africa is raising funds to enable African education professionals to benefit from the networks and resources of the largest annual pan-African conference on ICT-supported learning, recently launching the Scholarship Trust EAST, a non-profit organization “designed to enhance knowledge sharing and to promote awareness of the benefits of technology-assisted learning and training across Africa”. eLearning Africa is a pan-African conference on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development, Education and Training. The next conference will be the sixth to date and is scheduled to take place May 25 - 27, 2011 in the Mlimani City Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The scholarships target low-income, disadvantaged education professionals to enable their participation in an eLearning Africa conference event. “With one of the largest populations of young people in the world, education is at the heart of Africa’s future. eLearning and access to information are vital,” says Rebecca Stromeyer, eLearning Africa organiser and founder of the EAST organisation. “EAST will help to raise awareness of the benefits of technology-enhanced learning on the continent and contribute to the development of new initiatives.” To find out how to support EAST please visit www.easttrust.org or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLICATIONS, RESOURCES, & TOOLS
Call for Manuscripts: Journal of Language and Culture
The Journal of Language and Culture (JLC) is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed open access journal published monthly by Academic Journals (www.academicjournals.org/JLC). JLC is dedicated to increasing the depth of research across all areas of language and culture. JLC is seeking the submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of significance and scientific excellence in this subject area, and will publish original articles in basic and applied research and case reports. Manuscripts should be submitted to: email@example.com. JLC’s objective is to inform authors of the decision on their manuscript within four weeks of submission. Following acceptance, a paper will normally be published in the next issue. Instruction for authors and other details are available at http://www.academicjournals.org/JLC/Instruction.htm or contact the editor, Marta Manrique Gomez at firstname.lastname@example.org
WiderNet Project Announces Launch of Global Disability Rights Library
Advocates for the rights of people with disabilities around the globe now have a new way to find the knowledge and information resources they need: the Global Disability Rights Library (GDRL), an innovative technology that delivers digital information anywhere in the world, even to places the Internet does not reach. The WiderNet Project, a service program in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa, just released the first prototype version of this library, containing over 500,000 resources on disability rights. It is available in both an on-line and off-line version. Internet users can browse the library, locate resources, and share their feedback with the GDRL team to improve the library. The on-line version can be found at http://gdrl.org. “Few people in the developing world have the Internet,” said WiderNet’s Tomeka Petersen. “And even fewer people with disabilities can access information they need to improve their lives. Our librarians and volunteers have spent thousands of hours collecting the best materials from over 100 organizations in the U.S. and abroad.” The off-line version of the Global Disability Rights Library is delivered on a computer hard drive with an interface that emulates the appearance and function of the World Wide Web without requiring actual Internet access. So far, a total of 27 off-line deployment sites have been selected, including four test locations in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Peru and Zambia that have just received prototype units for review. The GDRL team will use feedback from the first four deployment sites, along with comments from on-line users, to improve the library before disseminating it to the other deployment sites. Another 33 off-line deployment sites will be selected in September. An on-line application form is at http://www.widernet.org/digitallibrary/GDRLSiteSelection.
Feedback and suggestions for additional digital resources can be e-mailed to email@example.com.
To learn more about the project, visit http://www.widernet.org/egranary/gdrl and http://www.usicd.org/index.cfm/global-disability-rights-library.
Excerpted from: News release, University of Iowa News Services, Iowa City, Iowa
Publication: Global Gauge, from the British Council
“Global Gauge” is a comparison of education activity in different countries. Three aspects of internationalization -- student mobility, academic and research collaboration, and national policies – are examined in three reports, which are available for purchase either separately or as an exclusive compilation at a reduced price. These new studies capture the readiness of a given country’s higher education system to engage with the rest of the world. Global Gauge addresses issues such as openness, quality assurance and degree recognition, and access and equity, while employing a scoring system based on both qualitative and quantitative research.
Access it here: http://ihe.britishcouncil.org/educationintelligence