Early English medium instruction in Francophone Cameroon: The injustice of equal opportunity

Kuchah Kuchah

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This paper reports on part of a study which sought to understand the motives behind the recent surge in the number of Francophone children pursuing English-medium education (EMI) in a country such as Cameroon where social class and, in some cases, potential social class is often intertwined with French language and a Francophone political identity. The paper examines children’s learning experiences as well as the school and out-of-school affordances for learning in English. Findings from data collected through interviews with school authorities as well as parents and school children from different socioeconomic backgrounds suggest that the policy discourse of social justice and quality Education for All is not sufficiently matched by learning affordances in state schools and as a result, its success is heavily reliant on out-of-school affordances provided by parents. The study also suggests that for poor children in state schools, the official promotion of bilingualism (in English and French) as well as perceptions of English language as the gateway to economic gains actually make the opportunity of access to English medium primary schools an act of injustice which can potentially perpetrate socioeconomic divisions between children from rich and poor backgrounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
Early online date10 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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