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 Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 From: William C. Fellows <email@example.com> I understood from Konare's statement, contra the observations of Harrow & Blanton, a concern with basic native language instruction as a means for effective mass education. If I am not mistaken, it has been widely observed that basic education is most effective when it occurs in the mother language of the (above all young) students. Or so I have very frequently read. I would guess Konare was thinking how to effectively raise the abyssmal literacy rates in Mali. (At least that should be his prime concern)  Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 From: John Edward Philips <firstname.lastname@example.org> > On the other hand, why do the Japanese do so well as > manufacturers of Western innovation? A great deal of effort went into translating western learning, especially scientific, technological and economic concepts, into Japanese so that the Japanese could master it. I recommend such works as _The Autobiography of Fukuzawa Yukichi_ to those who want to learn more. Mistakes were made, particularly regarding the understanding of foreign cultures and social concepts, but the real goal was to master technology, and that was done by means of translation. The heavy emphasis on the grammar-translation method of foreign language study in Japan is only beginning to be replaced by more communicative methods. Whether this will eventually result in greater Japanese understanding of foreign societies is still unknown, although I am hopeful. Japan's experience is an argument for the use of African languages and the translation of science and technology into those languages, although Japan's one-sided westernization and its misreading of other societies also resulted in disaster in World War II. I encourage African educators to overcome their colonial obsession with Europe, and begin to look for themselves, directly by studying Japan, at why Japan was able to industrialize in the 19th century, as well as what the shortcomings of the Japanese model are.  Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 From: Don Osborn <email@example.com> The way I read Pres. Konare's statement, it referred not to whether science could be transferred, but rather to how well it could "take root" (and hence contribute to what is sometimes referred to as "knowledge generation" in development) if it remained only "in the language of others." The Japanese example you mention would seem to be a clear one of "domestication" in this sense. Technology was "transferred," in this case at the initiative of a people that was fortunate to maintain independence, translated, interfaced with indigenous customs and ways of thinking, and made part of the evolving knowledge system. In this process, of course, there were many Japanese who learned other languages and studied abroad. But would Japan have made the same scientific and economic advances without this knowledge being expressed in the national language? Or if a foreign language such as English had been adopted as the language of formal education from first grade on? Although the African context is different in certain respects (notably the multiplicity of languages), these are the kind of questions I hear in Konare's remark.