The Language Policy in South Sudan: Implications for Educational Development

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Edward Yakobo Momo
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This report is part of the collection of publications on “Education, Conflict and Civicness in South Sudan”, which is the outcome of a collaboration between the South Sudan Studies Association (SSSA) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

South Sudan’s independence in 2011 reopened the debate about the use of indigenous languages as media of instruction at the early stages of schooling, which has intensified among African countries formerly under colonial rule. Many studies express concerns and criticisms about educational policies, specifically regarding the language of instruction. Before South Sudan gained independence, the language policy situation was more complex than today, due to numerous attempts by successive governments in the Sudan to Arabicise the educational system, leaving no room for consideration of the use of indigenous languages as media of instruction at the initial stages of education. Although there is sufficient empirical evidence in the literature which supports the use of indigenous languages as the media of instruction in the first three to four years of primary schooling, there are many vehemently opposed to this idea.
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