Colonial languages versus mother tongues: Focus on Cameroon’s educational system
Stephen A. Mforteh (University of Yaoundé I) [BIO]
The purpose of this paper is to show that the high value given to colonial languages in Cameroon today (and in essence all ex-colonies) was an unfortunate consequence of the devaluation of the several mother tongues that are still ubiquitous not only in Cameroon but on the continent in this post colonial era. The educational approach adopted by successive colonizers (the Germans, the British and French) had repercussions on the languages that were used and the learners. Although colonialism ended several decades ago, independence did not signal a change in mentality or attitude towards the colonial languages, which today still function as official languages and major lingua franca across several (ex-colonised) regions.
Education in this paper relates to some or all of the following: schooling, tutoring, teaching, instruction, edification, and culture. Education presupposes the existence of a standard or norm to which the educator seeks to bring the student, learner or apprentice either up to a predetermined level or, if possible, to one higher than his or hers.