Member of Parliament for Francistown East Honest Buti Billy will table a motion in the first session of parliament calling for the introduction of indigenous languages as a medium of instruction in the Botswana Education system.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MP told this publication that disregarding other indigenous languages by not teaching them at schools is not fair as it discriminates and side-lines such tribes. He said that when he grew up Kalanga language was a medium of instruction in various schools in Bokalaka only for the language to be scraped off by Botswana’s founding President Sir Seretse Khama.
“Other neighbouring countries including Zimbabwe and South Africa have long introduced their indigenous languages as a medium of instruction in their education radio and television, stations when they gained independence from the whites who wanted English language to be given preference over local languages,” said the MP. He further argued that if we cannot introduce Botswana’s indigenous languages, the concerned languages are most likely to become extinct.
“The current crop of youth who speak various local languages are not able to speak their mother languages as they seem to shun such languages in preference to Setswana and English which are regarded as the only official languages,” he said. According to him the introduction of indigenous languages by the Ministry of Basic Education will help those who stay far from their places of work to grasp their mother tongue thereby preserving it for the future generations. Besides the motion calling for the recognition of indigenous languages, Buti will also table a motion calling on the establishment of Community Radio and Television stations.