Local language a medium of instruction: Challenges and way forward

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The paper reports on a participatory action research study conducted in six rural primary schools in Uganda in 2013 to establish why children taught in the local language had difficulties in reading and writing. Findings through interviews, focus group discussions, reviews of exercise books and lesson observations indicated that though it was easier for pupils to learn the concepts in the local language; challenges ranging from poor translation, inadequate teachers' language proficiency, lack of instructional materials, high pupils' enrolment, lack of administrative support and teacher-centred approach of teaching, affected pupils' learning to read and write. Participants recommended adopting the child-centred pedagogy, incorporating instructional materials, conducting continuous assessment and recording pupils' competencies attained in reading and writing. Teachers need to engage more in Participatory action research in order to reflect on their practices and pupils' learning, and collaboratively decide what works best and what needs improvement in their classrooms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-332
Number of pages19
JournalEducational Action Research
Issue number2
Early online date2-May-2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Local language
  • mother tongue
  • medium of instruction
  • participatory action research

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