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Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa

The Year of African Languages (2006)

Plan for the year of African Languages - Executive Summary

The African Union has already proclaimed 2006 as the Year of African Languages. The rationale for the Year is the commemoration of the Language Plan for Africa which was adopted in 1986. In addition, there is need to renew the commitment to the plan by carrying out a series of activities designed to give high visibility to the Language Plan as well as intensify the promotion of African languages. The motto selected to capture the significance of the year is AFRICAN LANGUAGES FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT

Activities will take place at four levels: the sub-national or local, the national, the regional and the continental level. At the local and national levels, activities will be coordinated by a national coordination committee made up of government, non-governmental and public organizations as well as bilateral and multilateral partners involved in African language promotion. At the regional level, all activities will be harmonized and coordinated within the framework of relevant regional organizations At the continental level, the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), in its capacity as the lead continental organization, will ensure overall supervision. The activities envisaged will include completion of the processes of institutionalization of the various organs provided for in the ACALAN status as well as coordination of the core projects already embarked upon by ACALAN’s interim steering committee. At the regional level, there will be 5 regional symposia arising form which language commissions will be identified and established. At the national level, various activities including competitions, exhibitions, production of material, fund raising for language promotion, etc. will be embarked upon. Such activities will be spearheaded by the national language structure or any other suitable language structure in each country. jAll stakeholders will be involved in these activities, including partner, government, and non-governmental institutions and organizations.

One major aspect of the YOAL is the attention intended to be paid to mobilization and publicity at all levels. These will involve media campaigns on the role of African languages in education and development, promotion of African language material and reading in African languages, and general mobilization of educational institutions, local communities and language associations in individual or joint activities in language promotion. Specifically, radio and television programmes will be employed to sensitize the populace as well as ensure full participation. In this connection, encouragement will be given to the strengthening of community radios, where they already exist and their establishment, where they do not yet exist.

The expected outcome from the YOAL is greater attention to language policies and their implementation , revalorization of African languages, particularly in respect of their use as media of instruction in schools, and as working languages at local and national levels.


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