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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Language policy in Malawi
Author:Kamwendo, Gregory H.
Periodical:Zimbabwe Journal of Educational Research (ISSN 1013-3445)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Malawi
Central Africa
Subjects:language policy
political science
Abstract:Language policy formulation in Malawi has for a long time been dominated by politicians. Often presidential directives have given birth to vaguely stated policies, which have not been justified by any empirical studies. Under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) government of Life President Banda, Chichewa (Chinyanja) was the only indigenous language which received government recognition and support, to the point where other indigenous languages were marginalized. The MCP argued that its 'one nation, one language policy' was aimed at fostering unity among people of divergent ethnolinguistic origins. Even in the new democratic Malawi top-down directives on language policy continue, such as the May 1994 presidential directive that Chitumbuka should be reintroduced on the national radio and the announcement in March 1996 of a new policy of mother tongue instruction at primary level in standards 1 to 4. There is need for a national institution to coordinate and monitor language policy formulation and implementation. The language planning process must involve fact-finding, establishing goals, strategies and outcomes, implementation, and evaluation. The creation of a Centre for Language Studies, whose operations started in April 1996, is a step in the right direction. Given the new political climate prevailing in Malawi, language policy formulation should involve a wide cross-section of the society and cease to be the prerogative of political authorities or top government officials. Bibliogr., sum.