Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Sora Friedman, PhD


In many multilingual countries, the language instruction in classrooms is a continuous debate. Kiswahili is widely used in East Africa, however English is the language of instruction in secondary and tertiary education. In the United Republic of Tanzania, primary school is instructed in Kiswahili and then it abruptly switches to English in secondary school. Many students find the transition from primary to secondary school difficult for many reasons, including the language transition to English. As a result, nearly 1.5 million students are not enrolled in lower secondary school. Tanzania’s current president, John Magufuli, has made education a priority by introducing a new education and training policy. This new policy declares 10 years of free compulsory basic education while incorporating the change of language instruction in secondary and tertiary education to Kiswahili.

This paper is a policy analysis course-linked capstone focused on controversial language policies in Tanzania. The purpose of this research is to identify the relationship between Tanzania’s language policy and the effects on students in secondary school. It also explores the history of post-colonization, gives an overview of the current state of the policy, examines other countries’ practices by comparing statistical findings, and discusses the reality of challenges faced by current Tanzanian students. This paper concludes stating that language instruction is just one of many challenges within Tanzania’s education system. The usage of either language has the potential to be successful, however it depends on policy implementation, access to resources, and the quality of teaching.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Methods | International and Comparative Education | Language and Literacy Education


Image Location