African countries

Authored by: Sylvia Chanda Kalindi , Bestern Kaani

The Routledge International Handbook of early Literacy Education

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138787889
eBook ISBN: 9781315766027
Adobe ISBN: 9781317659204


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Literacy is generally considered to be an inevitable aspect of social and economic development at both the individual and society levels. Recent advancements in technology demand that people are able to navigate the world around them independently by invoking their reading and writing skills. Perceptions of what constitute early childhood literacy and literacy practices vary significantly across both cultural and socioeconomical divides. The foci of teaching–learning goals and related objectives are usually defined by the available resources and future prospects. Some dominant Western societies are purely monolingual, implying that literacy practices espoused evolve around a single language used at home, school and play. Literacy practices in multilingual societies vary significantly from one-language societies. They may require more than one medium of transmission because students use more than two languages. The African continent has more than 2000 languages and dialects spoken by more than one billion inhabitants. Until very recently, African literacies were based predominantly on oral traditions passed on from generation to generation. However, the advent of colonialism in the early twentieth century brought about new literacy practices with foreign languages and instructional practices.

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