Desafíos en la Diversidad



Quito, Ecuador | Septiembre 12-15
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador
Yonas Asfaha
Asfaha, Yonas Mesfun

Asmara College of Education   Eritrea


Associate professor of language education and acting dean of the Asmara College of Education. His research interests include literacy education, multilingual education policy, language policy, and sensitivity to cultural and contextual factors of interventions in literacy education in the global south.


The challenges of bilingual education for the Eritrea languages


The Eritrean, in the Horn of Africa, language policy allows the use of all the nine languages in
the country as media of instruction in the provision of elementary level education. As a result,
at least for the last four decades, educators have been conducting research on the languages,
writing some of them and developing them as school languages. However, the application in
basic education of these languages, in particular minority languages, has faced a number of
challenges. These range from the low social acceptance of some of the languages as school
languages to pronounced dialectal variations that make it difficult to choose one variety over
the other. The nine languages in the country are currently written in three different scripts with big differences in the societal acceptance of the scripts, the fit or appropriateness of the script to the language in question, and in some cases the availability of materials written in different scripts but the same language. These and other challenges of developing minority languages in education within a pluralistic language policy context will be discussed in this paper.