Prospects and Challenges in Scaling up Mother Tongue Curriculum Development and Implementation in Multilingual Environment: Experiences from Ethiopia

Presentation delivered at CIES 2017 (Atlanta). A number of linguistically diverse countries are embarked on providing their children with Mother Tongue (MT) instruction to enhance educational quality. Providing MT instruction in multi-lingual environments is not an easy task for governments as it entails choosing the MTs among many, reinforcing their policy, and mobilizing resources. Ethiopia, a country with speakers of over eighty languages, has implemented MT instruction by adopting positions and conventions in the international forums into its constitution and education policy. Currently, it is providing education in about fifty MT languages through developing curriculum materials and capacity building. Scaling up these practices has benefited considerable opportunities articulated in the system. On the other hand, it also came with its own challenges in the process of implementing the policy in its multi-lingual context. The objective of this presentation is to discuss the prospects existing in Ethiopian education system emanating from its constitution and articulated in the Education and Training Policy and frameworks. Besides it highlights core challenges faced in the process of scaling up MT curriculum development and implementation in line with government’s policy promises and provisions in the international conventions in pedagogy, politics and children’s right. Finally, the presentation outlines possible recommendations for future actions.