Radio Programming Engages Communities in Bilingual Education Goals in Mozambique

November 1st, 2021 | Stories


For an education program to succeed, people need to understand the benefits to them individually and to their community. In Mozambique, the Vamos Ler! (Let’s Read!) program works to share messages with community members about the benefits of bilingual education where students are taught in their local languages in grades 1 through 3, and prepared to transition to instruction in the country’s official language, Portuguese, in grade 4. 

Bilingual education programs that allow children to learn in the language they speak at home as well as their country’s official language are important for establishing fundamental skills, keeping kids in school, and improving learning outcomes. The UN’s Global Education Monitoring report found that children who learned in the language they spoke at home scored higher across subjects, furthermore, they had less grade repetition and lower dropout rates. 

To expand awareness and spark discussion surrounding bilingual education, Vamos Ler! is using radio to reach communities with dramas and discussion panels in local languages. Topics of these radio programs include bilingual education, the importance of regular school attendance, community involvement in education, and healthy childhood development. Radio programs create space for families, school leaders, and community members to engage in conversations, ask questions, and share ideas.

Education in mother-tongue language is also important for remaining connected to a community’s identity and culture. It allows a generational transfer of knowledge and culture that was forbidden during colonization. As one radio discussion panelist stated, “It was considered an achievement to only speak Portuguese. (But) nothing that we learned in the foreign language had to do with who we are, and I think that’s how our mother tongue survived.” Listeners contributed to the discussion and echoed these sentiments, showing support for bilingual education. 

The radio format is entertaining, interactive, and practical for households that do not have TV or internet access. Programs include episodes written by Paula Chiziane, a popular Mozambican author, and feature guests like Adelia, the Namuli Mountain community leader. Adelia is a strong supporter of children’s education, and as an influential community member, she regularly encourages families and communities to recognize the importance of education. The radio programs broadcast to all 21 Vamos Ler! districts, helping Adelia promote the message that “the learning process starts from the home.” 

Vamos Ler! is funded by the US Agency for International Development and implemented by Creative Associates International in partnership with World Education, Inc.

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