Language and Literacy Issues in Botswana

Principal Investigator: Annah Molosiwa
Michigan State University


This study investigated current language and literacy issues in the African country of Botswana. Four students who are pursuing graduate studies in the United States of America provided data for this case study. This results of the study are contextualized by descriptions of the language and literacy contexts of Botswana historically and today. Thus, the data came from the women's accounts, my own experiences as a Botswana scholar, and through existing scholarship on Botswana. Through this investigation, I sought to uncover insights into issues of literacy practice and the educational system of Botswana.
Data for the study were collected through formal interviews that lasted for one and one half to two hours per visit at the informant’s residence and at my residence for the informants who visited from states outside Michigan. The interviews were audiotaped and subsequently transcribed. The study lasted for a period of four months (from September to December, 2003). The questions were open ended and some had a list of possible prompts to guide the interviewer to the information wanted. In addition to formal interviews, I visited some informants’ homes once per week to observe the kind of literacy materials that were available as well as literacy practices in which they were engaged. Since I had a common language of communication (Setswana) with all the informants, I conducted the interview mostly in that language although at times there was code-switching between English and Setswana. Data were analyzed in relation to the categories of questions that mainly covered out-of-school literacy practices, historical literacy practices and school literacy practices. Informants Maybe “Introduction


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