Effects of the language of instruction on Learning in Secondary Education and Its Implications in Workforce Preparation: A Case of Dodoma, Tanzania

Lazaro Alman Kisumbe, Yusuph Lameck Mashala


This paper intended to examine the effects of the language of instruction on Learning in secondary education in Dodoma region, and its implications in the preparation of the country's workforce. A total of 288 form one students at Ipala and Hombolo secondary schools were purposely and conveniently selected into the study. Standard seven past papers including geography, history, and civics were used as model papers to test the effects of the Language of instruction in students' learning. The same examination was conducted to the same group in each school administered in English and later in the Kiswahili language. A Paired sample t-test (dependent t-test) for paired samples was used to compare means of correlated samples and to test the null hypothesis that "there is no significant difference between the sample means". Each sample from the population was measured twice. It was revealed that the students' scores in the examination differed due to the difference in the language of instructions. The scores in grade-wise revealed the poor performance of the examination in English when compared with the same examination in the Kiswahili language. We found that the use of the English language inhibits the understanding of the subject and limits the rooms for active involvement in training and learning, which is a prerequisite for understanding. Thus, it affects the efforts to prepare the future workforce to propel the realization of education policy and its contribution to the Tanzania National Development Vision 2025. We recommend designing operational strategies for implementation of the National Education and Training Policy, 2014 that directs the use of Kiswahili as the instructional language in all levels of education in the country.

Full Text:



Addow, A. M., Abubakar, A. H., & Abukar, M. S. (2013). English language proficiency and academic achievement for undergraduate students in Somalia. Educational Research International, 2(2), 59-66.

Brock-Utne, B. (2007). Learning through a familiar language versus learning through a foreign language—A look into some secondary school classrooms in Tanzania. International Journal of Educational Development, 27(5), 487-498.

Edgar, D. W. (2012). Learning theories and historical events affecting instructional design in education: Recitation literacy toward extraction literacy practices. Sage Open, 2(4), 2158244012462707.

Kinyaduka, B. D., & Kiwara, J. F. (2013). Language of instruction and its impact on quality of education in secondary schools: Experiences from Morogoro Region, Tanzania. Journal of Education and Practice, 4(9), 90-95.

EJ, K. K. E., Ahmed, O., & Lyimo, N. (2017). Attitude of teachers towards use of English language as a medium of instruction in secondary schools in Republic of Tanzania: A pragmatic perspective of Community Secondary Schools in Arusha District. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 4(9).

Aina, J. K., & Olanipekun, S. S. (2013). Effect of English language on academic performance in Physics and Computer Science among College of Education students. American International Journal of Research in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, 4(2), 114-117.

Komba, S. C., & Bosco, S. (2015). Do students’ backgrounds in the language of instruction influence secondary school academic performance?.

Kagwesage, A. M. (2013). Coping with English as Language of Instruction in Higher Education in Rwanda. International Journal of Higher Education, 2(2), 1-12.

McCoy, B. (2017). Education in an Unfamiliar Language: Impact of Teachers’ Limited Language Proficiency on Pedagogy, a Situational Analysis of Upper Primary Schools in Kenya. Journal of Pan African Studies, 10(7), 178-97.

Prinsloo, C. H., Rogers, S. C., & Harvey, J. C. (2018). The impact of language factors on learner achievement in Science. South African Journal of Education, 38(1).

Rafiu, J., & Nwalo, K. I. N. (2016). Effect of English Language proficiency on students performance in cataloguing and classification courses in polytechnic-based library schools in Nigeria. International Journal of Library and Information Science, 8(6), 54-61.

Rudd, M., & Honkiss, L. (2020). Analysing the Correlation between English Proficiency and Academic Performance among Thai University Students. Athens Journal of Education, 7(1), 123-137.

Cekiso, M., Tshotsho, B., & Masha, R. (2015). English language proficiency as a predictor of academic achievement among primary English first additional language learners in South Africa. International Journal of Educational Sciences, 9(3), 325-333.

Sjøberg S (2010), Constructivism and Learning in Penelope Peterson, Eva Baker, Barry McGraw, (Editors). International Encyclopedia of Education, 5, 485-490. Oxford: Elsevier

Suhendi, A. (2018). Constructivist learning theory: The contribution to foreign language learning and teaching. KnE Social Sciences, 87-95.

URT (2002). The Tanzania Development Vision 2025, Planning Commission of Tanzania.

URT (2014). The National Education and Training Policy, 2014, Ministry of Education.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jpag.v10i3.17370

Copyright (c) 2020 Lazaro Alman Kisumbe, Yusuph Lameck Mashala

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Journal of Public Administration and Governance  ISSN 2161-7104

Email: jpag@macrothink.org

Copyright © Macrothink Institute

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'macrothink.org' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.