English Language Teaching in Tanzania: A coloquium.

H.R Trappers-Lomax


Language, like water and forests, is a national resource. It is in no dan~er of
becoming exhausted through .overuse - the reverse, indeed, is true - but it
can be well managed or poorly managed and, if wrong choices are made, the
results may be serious for the social and political life of a people and in particular
for education. It is nowadays generally accepted that, if such results are
to be avoided, language resources must be protected and develoQed and the use
and teaching of languages ~ithin the national speech community must be carefully
planned ..
In 1978, the Institute of Education organised a Colloquium with the aim
of giving those professionally concemeda chance to discuss one important aspect
of lan8Qage 'manager.ne:Qt' in Tanzania. the tea~hin~ of English at the primary
leveL This is an issue that connects Wlth very many mteNelated problems of
language use and planning in'the country, and the prese~t paper, Wh~chwas
originally written immediately after the colloquium as a summary Of unpressions.
tOllchel'i on a number of these. The event itself is now several years in
the paSt, but the fact that the issues are still energetically alive is adequate testimony
to the continuing significance of those otherwise somewhat distant dis-
'cussions. A recently completed report(2) on the condition of English in the Tan-
~an educa~ional' system makes this fact abundantly clear .

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