University of Khartoum

Language Policy, Displacement and Education in South Darfur: a Case Study

Language Policy, Displacement and Education in South Darfur: a Case Study

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Title: Language Policy, Displacement and Education in South Darfur: a Case Study
Author: Mugaddam, Abdel Rahim
Abstract: This chapter focuses on the aspects of language policy in the Sudan and the way it affects the educational attainment of school children coming from language minorities in Darfur as well as how the current conflict resulted in the emergence of negative attitudes towards Arabic, the sole medium of instruction statewide. To this end, the chapter investigates the extent to which linguistic minority children’s low proficiency in Arabic hampered, on the one side, their learning achievement and, and on the other side, how textbooks designed for these children exacerbated their learning difficulties. In addition, the chapter explores attitudes of parents and teachers towards Arabic, the sole medium of instruction at basic level1. The sample of the study comprised of two groups. The first group was represented by 324 young pupils (aged 6 – 10 years) studying in one school in Nyala town and in another at Kalma camp as well as 105 teachers teaching at the IDPs Schools. The second group was represented by 30 parent and 20 teacher interviewees who were living at the camps and in Nyala town. Different quantitative and qualitative data collection methodologies were used to collect the relevant data. The quantitative data were obtained via a test given to the pupils, their final end of year examination records and by administering a structured questionnaire to the teachers (the first group). The qualitative data were gleaned from observations and interviews with teachers and parents (the second group). The study found that the level of Arabic proficiency among the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) children studying at the IDPs schools was very low. Therefore, the pupils suffered from lack of effective teacher-pupil interaction. Teaching in Arabic as a sole medium of education was also found to be a major factor in producing unfavourable learning environments for the children. Furthermore, the vast majority of the teachers and parents were found inclined to have native languages accommodated while teaching limited-Arabic proficient children. The emergence of this attitude was attributed to the simmering ethnic-based fragmentations which coincided with the eruption of the current conflict in Darfur.
Description: Language policy, displacement and education
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/5135
Date: 2012


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