The role of African languages in development in the 21st century: reflections on policies on African languages in education
Education remains the most crucial force for development in the Zl" century. In the African context, major issues that will continue to shape educational policy in the new century will revolve around fundamental problems such as mass poverty, illiteracy, technological backwardness, disease and undeveloped infrastructure, among others. This brief paper argues that one of the obstacles of educational advancement in Africa has been the lack of vision and clear sense of purpose in determining the language of instruction. This problem has largely been brought about by many unperceived or ignoredfallacies ingrained in the philosophy governing language policies in most confines on the continent. It calls for the recognition of multilingualism and multiculturalism as assets and not liabilities in development. By so doing, policy makers and implementers will see the urgent need to assign a bigger role for the African languages in education and other facets of development.