Linguistic diversity and literacy in a global perspective

A comparative look at practice in countries of Europe and Africa

Project team

  • Coordinator: Brigitta Busch (Austria)
  • Team members: Neville Alexander (South Africa), Carole Bloch (South Africa), Viv Edwards (UK), Ingrid Gogolin (Germany), Kum'a Ndumbe III (Cameroon), Maurice Tadadjeu (Cameroon)

The starting point

  • Establishing effective literacy in the first languages (L1) and bi/multilingual approaches to literacy teaching in early childhood education are now widely accepted as among the most effective ways of ensuring educational achievement for children and of promoting social cohesion in multilingual societies. The promotion of linguistic and cultural diversity is crucial to any serious attempt to realise a truly internationally oriented education, which would equip children to think and operate globally, to deal effectively with linguistic and cultural diversity.

The aim

  • Raise critical awareness, stimulate and encourage a reading culture in low-status languages, and research in the field of material development for L1 and multilingual education
  • Foster an intercultural dialogue and exchange of experiences and developments between European and African countries

The planned procedure

  • 1st phase: establish a bibliography on multiliteracy and material development, set the basis for the website
  • 2nd phase: Central workshop with the objectives

    • to gain an overview of expertise in materials development and relevant teaching strategies, as well as examples of good practice in the field in different countries;
    • to discuss criteria for materials development.

  • 3rd phase: prepare a publication

The expected outcome

  • website with examples of practice and resources for experts, multipliers and teachers
  • a set of guidelines for material developers and textbook authors


  • the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the Austrian UNESCO Commission, PRAESA (Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), AfricAvenir (Cameroon), NACALCO ( National Association of Cameroonian Language Committees).