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Revisiting the Trilingual Language-in-Education policy in the Seychelles National Curriculum Framework and Subject Curricula: Intentions and Practice
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
2016 (English)In: Island Studies, Indian Ocean/Océan Indien, ISSN 1694-2582, Vol. 3, no 1, p. 50-59Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The policy documents of a country’s education system can provide evidence of that particular country’s vision for its people’s socio-economic, socio-cultural and academic development. Such documents can also say much about the power relations between different languages that might be represented within it. Educators, policy makers, educational leaders, teachers, learners and parents are some key players directly or indirectly affected by these policy documents. Using Critical Discourse Analysis and Spolsky’s (2004, 2012) framework for language policy analysis, this paper investigates the trilingual language-in-education policy in the Seychelles National Curriculum Framework (2013) and three Subject Curricula (English, Kreol Seselwa and French), with the aim to explore how the documents relate at the levels of policy planning, implementation and practice. Our findings reveal that there are discrepancies between the overarching Curriculum Framework, where all three national languages are given central roles and equal status, and the Subject Curricula, where clear differences in the power and functions of the languages emerge. Further, on a more pragmatic level, it is of concern that the current policy documents do not explicitly acknowledge the role of the language instruction as a vehicle for learning when describing learning goals and terminal objectives – a good understanding of English (the current L2 medium of instruction) is a prerequisite for succeeding in education. Further, the lack of attention to the question of L2 writing literacy and the fact that Seychellois students have to become fairly advanced English writers at an early age if they want to communicate their knowledge across the curriculum is particularly disconcerting.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Seychelles: Seychelles University , 2016. Vol. 3, no 1, p. 50-59
Keywords [en]
language-in-education planning, L2 medium of instruction, Kreol Seselwa, multilingualism
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
language studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-128311OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-128311DiVA, id: diva2:1051284
Note

Proceedings of the International Conference on Education (University of Seychelles, 5-8 July 2015)

Available from: 2016-12-01 Created: 2016-12-01 Last updated: 2022-02-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Contrasting language-in-education policy intentions, perceptions and practice: the use of English and Kreol Seselwa in the Seychelles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contrasting language-in-education policy intentions, perceptions and practice: the use of English and Kreol Seselwa in the Seychelles
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
En jämförelse av utbildningspolitiska intentioner, uppfattningar och praktiker rörande undervisningsspråk : användningen av engelska och kreol seselwa på Seychellerna
Abstract [en]

Many studies have shown that Second Language (L2) Medium of Instruction (MoI) policies in Africa are linked to educational inequity, substandard teaching practice, low literacy skills and poor overall academic performance. In the light of this background, this thesis aims to make a more thorough inquiry into questions related to language-in-education policies, L2 as MoI, and academic success in the Seychelles, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean. Here the first language (L1), Kreol Seselwa, is used as MoI during the first two years of primary education and is then replaced completely, and quite abruptly, by English. While such L2 MoI policies exist in many parts of Africa, Seychelles is in many ways unique since approximately 98% of the student population all have the same L1, i.e. Kreol Seselwa. We are thus not dealing with a situation where the use of English in education is motivated by it being a lingua franca. 

The Seychelles is also the smallest and least populated country in Africa, offering an easily accessible context for linguistic exploration into matters regarding language-in-education policies. The country’s small size also enables one to gain real depth of insight into the language-in-education policy situation and the challenges faced by many nations in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). 

Using an eclectic methodological approach, including critical discourse analysis of policy documents, classroom observations, writing experiments, semi-structured interviews, survey questionnaires and corpus analysis, the thesis investigates the “problem” on various levels of the educational system (macro, meso and micro). The main focus lies on challenges and consequences of current language-in-education policies, culminating into four individual papers which include: 1) an analysis of educational policy documents such as the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and subject syllabi; 2) an investigation the teachers’ attitudes towards teaching through English and/or Kreol Seselwa; 3) an evaluation of learners’ ability to write their subject knowledge in English and Kreol Seselwa and 4) an investigation of Primary Six pupils’ ability to make meaning through their literacy practice in English and Kreol Seselwa. 

Bernard Spolsky’s (2004) comprehensive theoretical framework of language practices, language beliefs and values, and language planning and/or management is then used as the main analytical model to analyse the results and describe how these four studies are interconnected systematically in their quest to shed light on the current language-in-education context of Seychelles.

The main findings indicate that current language-in-education policies are contributing to educational inequity, especially given that the present-day system relies heavily on written examinations. The overall conclusion is that the full potential of using the mother tongue in learning contexts is not being realised, primarily a result of deeply rooted negative attitudes towards Kreol Seselwa being used in the Seychelles educational context. 

The “language problems” in the Seychelles educational system are thereby investigated systematically and the results are highly relevant for all post-colonial contexts where L2s are used as MoIs. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2022. p. 113
Series
Umeå studies in language and literature ; 47
Series
Umeå Studies in the Educational Sciences ; 52
Keywords
Code switching, Kreol Seselwa (Seychelles Creole), L2 Medium of Instruction, Post Colonialism, Language Policy, Translanguaging, Bilingualism, Multilingualism
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
language studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-192319 (URN)978-91-7855-736-3 (ISBN)978-91-7855-737-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-03-09, Lecture hall E, Humanities Building, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-02-16 Created: 2022-02-09 Last updated: 2022-02-14Bibliographically approved

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Zelime, JustinDeutschmann, Mats

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