Tanzanian Schools Adopts English as Medium of Instruction

January 11, 2023

Starting this week, students in Tanzania will commence taking their lessons in English after the government abolished the use of Kiswahili as the medium of instruction.

Toward this end, learners, starting from January 9, will undergo orientation for eight weeks when English lessons will officially commence in schools.

Assistant Director for Secondary Education in the President’s Office Benjamin Oganga said this decision, which is compulsory for all learning institutions, was made as a way to ensure students can comfortably express themselves in English.

“We have banned the use of Swahili in all our secondary schools. We need to ensure our students understand and are able to use English in accordance with the policies of education,” he said.

Prior to this announcement, Kiswahli was the medium of instruction for all subjects while Englih was taught as an optional language.

Globally Swahili speakers are estimated to range from 60 million to over 150 million people. This number accounts for both native and second-language speakers.

Around five to fifteen million people speak Swahili as their first language with Tanzania accounting for the largest number at about 9 per cent.

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