Talks / Workshops

Talk: Prof. Birgit Brock-Utne: “Education for all in Africa – But in Whose Languages”

Humboldt Universität, Berlin, Germany
23 Apr 2015

Talk: Prof. Birgit Brock-Utne: “Education for all in Africa – But in Whose Languages”

Author of the groundbreaking book “Whose Education for All? The Recolonization of the African Mind”, Prof. Brock-Utne will tackle the crucial question of the language of instruction in schools across the continent.

There seems to be general agreement that children learn better when they understand what the teacher is saying. In most parts of the African continent this is not the case. Instruction is given, often from the first grade, in a foreign language, a language children do not hear outside of school.

The year 2015 has been singled out as a year where the donors to education in Africa shall put the main emphasis on the quality of rather than the access to education. The Global Monitoring Report of 2014 is concerned with the fact that there are millions of children in Africa who do attend school but yet do not learn to read and write. Little thought has, however, been given to the fact that these children do not understand what the teacher is saying.

Who benefits from the existing situation? Who are the losers? Why is nothing happening? Can there be quality education in a language children do not understand? What about the argument that there are so many languages in most African countries which makes it impossible to choose an African language as language of instruction? The internationally acknowledged and acclaimed educationaist will share her insight into the work on harmonisation of written languages in Africa.


23 April 2015, 7 – 10 pm

Humboldt Universität – Hauptgebäude Raum 2094
Unten den Linden 6
10117 Berlin

Free Admission – Donations welcome!
Birgit Brock-Utne is a Professor of Education and Development at the University of Oslo, Norway. She was a Visiting Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 1988 to1992 and has since that time written extensively on education in Africa. Her most well-known book is: “Whose Education for All? The Recolonization of the African Mind”, which first appeared in 2000 and was reprinted in 2006. She was for ten years (2002 -2012) the Norwegian leader of the LOITASA (Language of Instruction in Tanzania and South Africa) project which has published nine books. She is now in the Norwegian leadership group of the TRANSLED (Transformation, Language, Education and Development) project taking place until 2019 in Tanzania, mostly at SUZA (the State University of Zanzibar). She is also a fluent speaker of Kiswahili and German but is accustomed to lecturing in English. The discussion after her lecture can take place in German.


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