Volume:6, Issue: 3

Dec. 15, 2014

From a Nigerian seminar to an American-Russian Education Forum publication
Babaci-Wilhite, Zehlia [about]

From a Nigerian seminar to an American-Russian Education Forum publication

The idea for this special issue was conceived at the Comparative and International Education Society conference (CIES) in Toronto, Canada, USA in 2014. At that time, I was planning a course/seminar at the Imo State University, Nigeria in “Education and Development in Comparative and International Education” with a focus on the use of local languages and local curriculum working with teachers in Nigerian languages (Igbo in Imo State) and English as well as Science subjects. The idea came to mind with Professor Tatyana Tsyrlina-Spady to share the workshop outcome in this special issue with contributions from other African voices and scholars interested in language, science, literacy and human rights in education.

Contributions to this special journal issue demonstrate linkages between local languages, local curriculum, science literacy, quality learning, and rights in education. The authors argue that local languages and a locally grounded curriculum in schooling are essential to ensure children’s’ rights in education. The key contribution of the special issue is the contention that rights in education must be protected and preserved in order to learn science subjects and that this cannot be accomplished without valuing local languages, local curriculum as a human right in education not only in Africa but in the world. Even if the desire for English is the goal of education for many countries, the fact that local language of instruction would produce better results should, logically, inform decisions in education language policy. There is a persistent blind-faith reliance on English, despite the overwhelming scientifically based evidence, English as a language of instruction continues to be required at all educational levels in many developing nations and continues failing the results of education for numerous local children.

Papers presented in this special issue form basis for a reevaluation of education policies, emphasizing the richness of local languages and culture for science learning and contributing to a realization of social justice. This special issue reviews and assesses the role of language, literacy and culture, and their consequences for quality learning and cultural identity as well as underlining the importance of acknowledging human rights in education, drawing on theories addressing formal and informal education, local versus global education, quality education for self-reliance, and development.

Dr. Zehlia Babaci-Wilhite,
Guest Editor


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