This special edition of Per Linguam has its origins at a workshop in November 2013 at Zhejiang International Studies University in Hangzhou, where Chinese and South African academics exchanged ideas on the literacy challenges facing early childhood education in the two countries. As a result of this workshop, it was decided to follow up on further research and the exchange of information regarding reading practices in primary school classrooms in China and South Africa. This special edition brings you a selection of articles that follow from this initiative. The seven articles that make up this edition fall into three themes, namely Reading (Pretorius & Klapwijk; Van Staden; Wang & Wang), Teacher Training in relation to literacy (Zheng, Gao and Wang) and Early literacy development (Mohangi, Krog, Stephens & Nel; Zhou and Yang; Nel, Krog, Mohangi, Muller & Stephens). The Chinese articles provide overviews of changes in policy and practices regarding literacy instruction in China over the past two or so decades, while the South African articles report on specific aspects of reading literacy that have recently been researched. Much theoretical, methodological and pedagogical value can be gained from reflecting on and comparing literacy policies and practices across countries. This enables us to better understand variations of a global phenomenon like reading literacy and the ways in which it is viewed, valued and explicitly taught within the unique multilingual, multicultural, socioeconomic and historical contexts in which literacy development takes place.
This Special Edition was guest edited by Profs Norma Nel and Lilli Pretorius.
This special issue deals with aspects of language politics in relation to multilingualism and education in Africa. It presents case studies that highlight strategies for enhancing the status and role of African languages in education and the judiciary in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ghana. Some of the broad questions that are discussed in this issue are: Why should all higher education students learn at least one African language? How should multiple languages be taught in multilingual classes? What is the current sociolinguistic status and role of African languages at universities? What is the impact of language choice in the administration of justice in courts?