Language Policy In Kenya
Kenya is a land with diverse culture. The earliest signs of human settlement and civilization date back to 2000 BC when the Kenyan highlands were inhabited by Cushitic speaking people. During the colonial times, the country was first colonized by Germany and then handed over to Briton in the late 1800s. The British operated its colonies in Kenya till the 1957 post which the Republic of Kenya was formed with independently elected government. The modern government went on to release the Language Policy in the country which states Swahili and English to be the official language for the country and its citizens.
As per the constitution of Republic of Kenya and the national Language policy, all official documents, bills, and financial resolutions are to be released in English. All members of the national assembly are required to have reading and speaking knowledge in Swahili and English. The main reason for issuance of the policy is to unify politics and generate ability to participate in global communication. It is also seen as a unifying factor for the many diverse cultures and indigenous tribes that call Kenya home.
Apart from the governance, the Language policy has also been implemented through the education system of Kenya. English has been mandated as the language of choice for all instructions at primary and higher level education. The integration of the policy with the education system was criticized when launched, but since then it has proved to be of great benefit with many Kenyan students excelling in foreign universities and schools because of their strong English language knowledge.
For travelers to Kenya, the implementation of the language policy has brought in moderate relief. English speaking travelers from Europe, America and Asia do not face severe problems when communicating with the local population as most understand and are able to communicate in English with relative ease.
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