Advice Column, Education, Mainstream Education, Recently

Embracing Language Diversity in Education: The Heart of Our Children’s Future

  • Future Nation Schools
  • Category Advice Column, Education, Mainstream Education, Recently

Imagine your child feeling a surge of pride and connection every time they speak their mother tongue. This is the power of integrating indigenous languages into education – it not only bridges the gap between learning and cultural identity but also enriches the cognitive and emotional development of our children.

Sadly, ours is a continent where the dominance of foreign languages, such as English, Portuguese and French, has often overshadowed the rich mosaic of our indigenous tongues, disconnecting our children from their roots.

This is particularly detrimental in how it has changed our country’s education. 

Rewriting our children’s narrative through decolonised education

Encouraging the use of indigenous languages in schools enhances learning, boosts cognitive flexibility, and nurtures a sense of belonging. This linguistic inclusivity is vital for preserving our cultural legacies and empowering future generations.

To decolonise education is to liberate it from the remnants of colonial influence that still dictate the languages and methodologies of teaching. This transformative process involves redefining educational content to reflect the authentic voices and experiences of our communities. It’s about creating a space where every child feels seen, heard and valued.

And while changing a system takes time – and the collective effort all – there are many things you can do as a parent to ensure your child’s native tongue is not lost because of our education systems. 

Four easy ways parents can champion language diversity

As a parent, your influence is monumental in shaping an inclusive educational environment:

  1. Create a multilingual home: Many African parents champion English at home in favour of their home language in order to ensure that their children have a high proficiency in the language. While understandable, this can create major identity and cultural issues for your children later life. Instead of favouring one language over another, host regular conversations in your home language to enrich your child’s linguistic skills and deepen their cultural connections.
  2. Share your cultural richness: Introduce your child to folktales, songs and traditions in your native tongue to foster a deeper appreciation of their heritage.
  3. Advocate for language inclusion: Encourage your child’s school to support and teach indigenous languages, transforming the educational landscape together.
  4. Celebrate multicultural events: Participate in cultural festivals that highlight the diversity of languages and cultures, making these experiences a joyful part of your family’s life.

Be part of the change: Join our FutureTalk Webinar

In celebration of Africa Day this May, Future Nation Schools is hosting a free FutureTalk webinar entitled “Reimagining Foundations: Indigenous Language Diversity as the Pillar of Decolonised African Education” where we are inviting parents and educators to learn about the transformative power of language diversity in education. This dialogue will equip you with the knowledge and tools to advocate for a decolonised and inclusive learning environment that honours and elevates our continent’s rich heritage.

Date: 20 May 2024

Time: 18h00 to 19h30

Venue: Zoom 

Cost: Free

Register here

By embracing language diversity, we not only enhance our children’s educational experiences but also sow seeds of cultural pride and understanding that will flourish for generations. Join us in this heartfelt journey to reshape education in a way that truly reflects the vibrancy and diversity of our continent. Together, we can ensure that our children’s education is a celebration of their identity and potential.

By Pheelo Mokete, Future Nation Schools

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