English medium instruction and examining in Zanzibar: Ambitions, pipe dreams and realities

Pauline M Rea-Dickins*, Guoxing Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

7 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter begins by exploring the ‘language’ factor in teaching, learning and
assessment in Zanzibar, where Kiswahili is the first language (L1) and medium at
primary school, with English the medium in secondary schools. It then draws on
empirical studies investigating the dynamics of language in student performance as assessed at the end of basic education. Five different data sets from the same
research context are presented, including an exploratory study investigating
students’ abilities to access examination questions through English, a second or
foreign language, and findings from three different language versions (English
only, Kiswahili only, bilingual English-Kiswahili) of the same school subject
examinations for mathematics, biology and chemistry. The discussion addresses
issues of national policy and of individual aspiration for the use of an unfamiliar
language in education, referenced to how learner ambitions align with the realities
on the ground.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage Issues in Comparative Education
Subtitle of host publicationInclusive Teaching and Learning in Non-Dominant Languages and Cultures
EditorsCarol Benson, Kimmo Kosonen
PublisherSense Publishers
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789462092181
ISBN (Print)9789462092167
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Publication series

NameComparative and International Education: A Diversity of Voices
PublisherSense Publishers


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