UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

ICT, multilingual primary education and classroom pedagogy in Northern Uganda Oates, Lauryn


The goal of achieving Universal Primary Education (UPE) has found resonance throughout Africa as governments embark on ambitious development agendas, and in Uganda specifically. Yet, arguably the fundamental prerequisite for attaining quality UPE, literacy, has had limited success: one in three Ugandans cannot read or write in any language. Illiteracy is especially acute in post-conflict Gulu, in the north, illustrative of how closely intertwined human security is to the ability to offer relevant, culturally appropriate and high quality education. Some argue that the poor progress on raising literacy levels is a consequence of education systems’ disconnections from the cultures of their learners (Prah 2008), including quality multilingual education. The need to integrate the mother tongue into the classroom, including into second language learning is well established (Cummins 1981, 1993; 2000; Egbokhare 2004; Garcia, 2009). Identifying the best tools to accomplish this in African contexts, particularly where conflict is a factor, however, is much less well explored. This research seeks to understand how Gulu's primary teachers can use specific information communication technology (ICT) tools to support teachers who are struggling to teach the mother tongue with limited traditional literacy resources. It forms part of a larger project led by Dr. Bonny Norton, Dr. Maureen Kendrick and Dr. Margaret Early, to address language and literacy challenges in diverse African communities. In particular, this study serves as a response to the finding (Mutonyi & Norton, 2007) that ICTs offer untapped potential to raise learning outcomes.

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