Education Minister Dora Siliya has challenged academicians in the SADC region to learn from major world economies like Japan
and China that have used their indigenous languages in enhancing their technological advancements.
Ms. Siliya observed that academicians in the region can also assists their governments in dispelling widely held misconceptions among many Africans that their indigenous languages cannot be used as instruments for scientific and socioeconomic development.
Ms. Siliya implored civil society organisations to partner with governments in the region and take the lead despite the fact that language is a cross-cutting issue that can impact greatly on the socio economic development of the SADC region.
ZANIS reports that Ms. Siliya said this in a speech read on her behalf by Education Deputy Minister, Boniface Kawimbe at the official opening of the 11th Biennial Conference of the Linguistics Association of SADC Universities in Lusaka yesterday.
The three-day conference that has drawn academicians and scholars from the SADC region is being held under the theme” Linguistic theory and language documentation: Innovations, Successes and Challenges”.
The Education Minister said language has remained the most important tool for communication and dissemination of information through activating the citizenry to participate fully in development initiatives.
She further urged the conference to devise mechanisms that will facilitate the formulation and implementation of language policies in the region.
Ms Siliya explained that this will enhance the documentation of community languages so that they can be used as instruments of mass communication, mass education, and science and socio-economic development in the region.
And speaking at the same occasion, University of Zambia (UNZA) acting Vice Chancellor, Wilson Mwenya commended government for supporting the institution to become an education hub for research and teaching community service in the region.
Dr. Mwenya urged academicians and scholars to engage their governments in formulating language policies that can enable the citizens to meaningfully participate in the governance and attainment of sustainable social and economic development in the region.
Earlier, Linguistics Association of SADC Universities (LASU) chairperson Professor Armindo Ngunga said the right to education is one of the fundamental human rights saying language has a direct impact on the quality of education.
Professor Ngunga pointed out that this was evident by the language a person was more proficient with as the right to education and knowledge was hence the best exercise through the language.