The Language Factor in Educational Performance at University Level

Roger Andersen


This paper examines the problem of language in education at the university
level in Tanzania in order to address issues of teaching and educational
planning in Tanzania and beyond. The written data was gathered through
essay writing in formal setting at the University of Dar es Salaam. A total of
72 students participated in the study. To supplement the written data,
questionnaires were administered and formal interviews were conducted.
Findings show that sentence length of Tanzanian students tends to be high on
account of the extensive use of co-ordination; though female students produced
shorter sentences. It was found that what is claimed that university
achievement might be strongly influenced by proficiency in English is
questionable. It is concluded that the results from the study reported herein do
not immediately suggest any simple answer to the problem felt by many
people that English creates difficulties in educational systems where it is a
second language.


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