The Educational Implications of Multilingualism for Cameroon and The Gambia

TitleThe Educational Implications of Multilingualism for Cameroon and The Gambia
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsCanvin, Maggie
Academic DepartmentSchool of Education
Number of Pages89
UniversityUniversity of Reading, UK
CityReading
Thesis TypeMasters Thesis
Abstract

This study explores the issues of the educational implications of multilingualism using comparative methodology. It looks at these issues at both the national, macro, level and at the local, micro, level in Cameroon and The Gambia. Three questions underlie the research. Is multilingualism the problem it seems to be for education? What are the implications of multilingualism for education in the countries specified? Is it possible to devise a distinctive features matrix which will answer the dichotomy between positivist and relativist positions in comparative methodology?
In addition to using general comparison techniques, Mikes’ Typology (1986:16-22) was used to analyse the case studies and Lyons Typology (1995:12) to define the types of bilingual programme in use and proposed. The results are displayed in distinctive feature matrices at both macro and micro levels (in Chapters Four and Five) which highlight both the similarities and distinctions between the case studies and bridge the dichotomy between the positivist and relativist approaches of Comparative Studies. This dichotomy is outlined in Chapter One along with other difficulties of Comparative Studies. The issues of multilingualism are discussed in Chapter Two while Chapter Three looks at the particular issue of language and education. Chapters Four and Five present the macro and micro level case studies. The analyses of the case studies in Cameroon and The Gambia are summarised in Chapter Six and conclusions are made that multilingualism is a problem for education in the countries under consideration, and that it is possible to devise a distinctive features matrix which will answer the dichotomy between positivist and relativist positions in comparative methodology. A further hypothesis is proposed is that by using distinctive features matrices it should be possible to identify the most significant factors for comparing different education systems and sociolinguistic situations.