“History provides some intriguing examples of the effect of being educated in the mother tongue or some other language.”
A policy change in South Africa introduced in 1955 by the apartheid government used the medium of education to sharpen the divide between whites and blacks, increasing the years of schooling that children got in their mother tongue. Two extra years of mother-tongue schooling, instead of schooling in Afrikaans or English, raised both literacy and wages, according to a recent study of historical data.
Of course, The Economist, whose reporting I value immensely, asserts foolishly that the reason “the apartheid government” increased “the years of schooling that children got in their mother tongue” was to increase racial divisions.
Not true. The policies of separate development were rooted in a belief that human beings were attached to their own tribe and would be less restive and more well-adjusted if educated in their own ways, rather than anglicized.
In any case, scholars have discovered that across the non-English speaking parts of the world, kids fare better when English is a subject, but not a medium, of education.
Does this mean that tribalism reveals itself in educational patterns and proclivities? That people exhibit a belonging that can’t be easily erased?