Language in Africa Event an Occasion for Convergence
The very first meeting of the Language in Africa Special Interest Group of the British Association for Applied Linguistics took place on the 4th and 5th November at the Leeds University Centre for African Studies. It was convened by Dr. John Holmes, from the School of Education, who was ably assisted by Dr Goodith White and MA students Gospel Ikpeme and Frederick Odhiambo.
The meeting was preceded by a very lively and interesting discussion from Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development, who talked on 'Africa's Way Forward'. This was followed by the plenary address from Seraphin Kamdem from SOAS on 'Using local languages in bilingual education in Cameroon'.
The event included seven papers by UK and European participants and two papers from the University of South Africa (UNISA) via video conference. A strong theme throughout the weekend was the growing importance of mother tongue education even in 'small' languages and the creation of literacies in the community. UK literacy specialists were also present, showing an inetresting convergence of interests and research findings.