ZIMBABWE, Sunday, joined the rest of the world in commemorating the United Nations International Mother Language Day, amid calls for the inclusion of braille and other indigenous languages for instruction in education.
The International Mother Language Day, which is held on February 21 annually, celebrates the power of mother languages to build peace and sustainability.
In a statement to mark the day, human rights’ lawyers argue the official recognition of indigenous languages in the country’s education sector enhances the quality of education.
“Including the various indigenous languages in Zimbabwe among the languages of instruction in the education system is key to the improvement of the overall quality of students’ results across all subjects,” said the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
“It is, therefore, imperative for policymakers, local and central government to expedite the process of expanding the range of languages of instruction in schools.”
The lawyers said the Covid-19 pandemic had disproportionately affected the quality of education of students whose mother language differs from the language of instruction.
“The recent Grade 7 results are a testament to the detrimental impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the quality of education in the country. Despite this, the results highlighted how indigenous languages can play a greater role in improving the overall quality of results of students,” observed the lawyers.
The 2020 Grade Seven examination national pass rate is 37, 11%, lower than the 46,9% in 2019, translating to a decrease of 9,79%.
The lawyers further argued the poor pass rate can only be reversed through the inclusion of mother tongues as languages of instruction in learning.
“This picture strengthens the argument that indigenous languages can be used to enhance the provision of quality education to students from various sections of the community.”