Official languages are one of the main lingering legacies of colonialism in Africa. Education at almost all levels is administered in the official languages that only a small percentage of the population can write and speak fluently. This fact creates bottle-necks that allow only a small percentage of the population to become part of an educated labor-force. Therefore, the goal of this research is to investigate the impact of using official languages as languages of instruction on economic development in Africa. We have chosen Tanzania for our research partly because of our familiarity with this country and also because it has been possible to find valuable data from the Tanzania Ministry of Education website. This research explores the short-run and long-run opportunity costs of continuing the colonial legacy in the field of education by using a foreign language as the language of instruction. We hope to offer policy suggestions that could broaden the educated base and foster economic growth and development. While there has been some research into the costs of designing and publishing learning material and textbooks in local languages, there is hardly any thinking, let alone research, on the costs involved in having millions of school-children in Africa repeating classes, dropping out of school or sitting year after year in schools where they get low grades and learn nothing else than self depreciation.
UI alumni like Deanna Fei and Geoffrey Hilsabeck have benefited greatly from their international experiences thanks to the support of Fulbright grants. Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program gives masters and doctoral candidates, recent baccalaureate recipients, and young professionals and artists opportunities for personal development and international experience.
Why Portuguese?– A question that Geoffrey Hilsabeck didn’t always have a clear answer for when he started learning the language in 2008 while attending the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. With the support of a Fulbright fellowship grant, Hilsabeck just finished a year studying Portuguese poetry and teaching a class in U.S. history and culture at the University of Lisbon.
John Giammatteo, an upcoming senior studying Anthropology at Syracuse University, was a participant during fall 2009 in the University of Iowa’s “Semester in South India” program in Mysore, India. As part of an academic assignment, John conducted a research project in the city of Chennai (formerly Madras) that involved interviewing refugees who had been stranded in India for years during the civil war that raged between separatist Tamil Tigers and the government of Sri Lanka. In November 2009 he also was a student rapporteur and participant in a workshop held in Mysore that delved into the problem of involuntary removal of rural populations in South Asia due to two causes: large-scale development projects and high-impact natural disasters. John is currently in Thailand completing his Honors Capstone fieldwork, researching with Karen migrants in the Thai-Burma border town of Mae Sot.
Innovation is not a new concept for The University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP). In operation since 1969, this project has turned into the nation’s premier center for creative writing and has contributed toward transforming the UI into a writing university.
Most recently, IWP has begun a new innovative tradition in the “New Symposium,” which met for three years on the island of Paros (Greece). IWP hosted a comparable gathering of writers and artists in Morocco from April 28, 2009 – May 5, 2009, in the form of a Souk Ukaz —a regional tradition of intellectual and artistic exchange.
Deanna Fei’s first book, “A Thread of Sky,” has just been published but, already, it has left breathless readers exclaiming its beauty and complexity.
Fei graduated with her MFA from the famed Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa and she received a Fulbright Scholarship with the assistance of staff from UI International Programs. Here she credits International Programs for helping her return to China for the research and personal perspective that was critical to her writing.
Yale ethnomusicologist Michael Veal will give a talk on dub reggae, “The Acoustics of Diaspora,” at 4 p.m. Friday, April 2, in Room 1117 (International Commons) in the University Capitol Center.
Veal’s work has addressed various topics about the music of Africa and the African Diaspora. His current research on Jamaican dub music examines the ways in which taped media and the studio-based innovations of Jamaican recording engineers in the 1970s shaped local culture and affected popular music worldwide.
The inaugural lecture in Latin American Studies to honor Charles A. Hale will be held Thursday, March 4, 2010, when the topic is “"The Paradoxes of Truth: Reckoning with Pinochet and the Memory Question in Chile and World Culture, 1989-2006." The lecture is sponsored by the Latin American Studies Program and the Department of History and will be presented by Steve J. Stern.