The choice of indigenous versus European languages in education should be a hotly contested issue. Surprisingly, in much of Africa it is not. African states have dramatically increased their use of local languages in education over the last decade. This increase, however, has not proceeded from vocal demands on government by various language groups. Instead, it is the result of two more subtle factors: the changed attitude of a former coloniser and the work of language NGOs on the ground. These two forces have altered governments' perceptions about the utility of African languages in their education strategies. Because this political process works through persuasion, rather than bargaining, it allows choices about language in education to be less contentious than popularly assumed, separating this process from the violent ethnolinguistic conflict that is so often associated with Africa.
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