Generating Momentum for Bilingual Education in Senegal
The traditional curriculum is taught in French in Senegal, yet students speak a number of other languages at home. To overcome linguistic barriers to their education, and meet cultural expectations, a unique pilot was run by a local non-profit, where students were taught in both French and the local language (Wolof or Pulaar).
The pilot was run in over 100 schools and the results were promising. The question remained, however, could Senegal assess and improve upon the pilot to increase the likelihood the curriculum would succeed at scale?
Working with the Senegalese minister of education, staff from the Ministry of National Education, and other curriculum and education personnel, we worked on a scaling-up initiative that would expand the adoption of the innovative bilingual curriculum. Issues addressed included fundraising, institutional adaptation, advocacy, and awareness-raising.
Furthermore, we worked with the government to incorporate the curriculum into regional teacher training centers and ensured the curriculum would be incorporated into the national reform plan.
The bilingual approach prepares students to rejoin the official French-based curriculum once a foundation of learning has been established.